The United States Is Grappling With Six Month Passport Application Backlog

It looks like your Colombia BBL trip will have to wait a bit longer, ladies, as the United States is experiencing a significant passport application backlog.

As the borders open back up, the U.S. State Department has received an influx of passport applications flooding the agency. The department is now warning that Americans should expect their passport after six months.

Even passport renewals are backed up, with those submitted by mail taking up to 18 weeks, while the expedited renewals are taking at least 12 weeks to return.

“Operational issues” are prolonging the process, with as many as 2.2 million applications currently backlogged. When new passport applications are received, they enter a “lockbox” and are assigned a secure number. This process would usually take 24 hours to complete. However, it is now taking up to six weeks. This procedure is run by Citibank, which is contracted by the government and is overseen by the Treasury Department. An unnamed Citibank source revealed that the processing delays are mainly related to staff shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under normal circumstances, most regular passports take four to six weeks to obtain.

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