State Department Passport Backlog Leads to Senate Action

Senators respond to passport processing delays.

The U.S. State Department is experiencing a significant backlog in passport processing after the COVID-19 pandemic suspension and lull in renewal requests coupled with a recent surge in international travel. The amount of time it takes to receive a U.S. passport after sending an application has risen to an average of 10 to 13 weeks unless applicants pay for expedited processing of 7 to 9 weeks.

Senators James Lankford of Oklahoma and Pete Ricketts of Nebraska have introduced legislation to address these delays. They propose a 12-week processing time requirement and a tracking system for applicants.

Senator Lankford said, “It is a very big mess.“ He said his office is hearing from people “saying that they requested their passport in February or January — it’s July. They don’t have it yet.”

Many people do not realize their passports have expired or are nearing expiration before they schedule international travel. Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina said, “We’ve got people who’ve spent $20,000 to [take] their dream trip, but they didn’t check their passport.”

Some senators would like to see the travel industry make travelers more aware of passport requirements and processing times.

The State Department expects to process 25 million passport applications this year, which is up from 22 million last year. The pre-pandemic processing time for passports was 4 to 6 weeks.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For Senators Lankford and Ricketts as they seek to streamline the State Department’s passport processing.
  • For State Department personnel as they work to fulfill passport application requests.
  • For Americans to be aware of the status of their passports and allow ample time for processing applications.

Sources: The Hill, Federal News Network


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