Travel Nightmares: Delays in U.S. Passport Processing Leading to Frustration and Ruined Summer Vacations

WASHINGTON (AP) — If you’re seeking a valid U.S. passport for your 2023 trip, get ready for a different and challenging experience. The overwhelming number of passport applications is causing huge delays due to staffing shortages and the suspension of online processing. With the resurgence of international travel, applicants are facing uncertainty, long waits, and expensive alternatives to obtain their passports. Some travelers are even purchasing additional plane tickets to pick up their passports in other cities. U.S. officials admit the problem and attribute it to the ongoing pandemic and staffing issues. The State Department is receiving a record-breaking 500,000 applications per week and is on track to exceed last year’s total of 22 million passports issued. Travelers are sharing their frustrations and seeking help from representatives in Congress, who have reported an alarming number of complaints regarding passport delays. The system is currently prioritizing urgent cases, leaving limited and costly options for others. The State Department is working diligently to address the crisis by hiring more staff, opening more appointments, and exploring alternative solutions. However, the wait times remain uncertain. The demand for passports has increased drastically over the past three decades, with Americans increasingly eager to explore the world. Additionally, applicants abroad, seeking U.S. visas and passports, are facing lengthy waiting periods, causing further inconvenience. Despite some slight improvements in recent days, travelers continue to face frustrating challenges in obtaining their passports.


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