Join AAA
Join AAA
linkedin image
How Long Does It Take to Get a Passport



If you have an international trip coming up, you may be getting nervous that your passport has yet to come back from the U.S. Department of State. While passport wait times have come down in recent months from their pandemic highs, long delays are still occurring, and the excuses are primarily unchanged from a year ago.

For the foreseeable future, the government recommends travelers "apply for their passport well in advance of any planned international travel to avoid last-minute issues."
Young Woman Applying For Visa In US Immigration


If you mailed your application in the fourth quarter of 2023, you can expect 8 to 11 weeks of processing time or 5 to 11 weeks if you paid to expedite the process. If you submitted your application before October 2023, you may be nearing the end of a 13-week wait.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs cautions that mailing time should be added to these estimates. It can take two weeks, before and after processing, for the U.S. Postal Service to deliver your passport.

Woman With USA Passport


One of the reasons for the long passport processing times is sheer demand. Between October 2022 and September 2023, the State Department reported issuing 24 million passport books and cards—more than ever before. Demand isn't slowing down. Reporting in Summer 2023 by The New York Times indicates the government "is on track to issue 25 million passports this year."

In addition to an increased demand from new travelers, there are also increased renewals, mostly due to people letting their passports expire during the pandemic.   

AAA Members have exclusive access to expedited passport services. Learn More


The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) is not the only federal agency dealing with staffing problems. CNBC reported that the State Department is having "to restaff positions that were reassigned or eliminated when passport demand cratered in 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic."

Until all open positions are filled and demand returns to normal levels, continue to expect and plan for passport delays. Ensure you leave enough time for your passport application to be processed. Remember that many countries require your passport to be valid up to six months after the date your travel is scheduled to conclude.
Business Travel


The options available for an expedited passport will depend on the reason for your trip and how soon you're traveling. The easiest option is to pay for faster processing. For $60, you can currently cut three to four weeks off the processing time.

Another easy option is to speed up the mailing portion of the process. Send your application using USPS Priority Mail Express. For the return journey, pay an extra $19.53, and you'll receive your passport in 1 to 2 days.

Other options for an expedited passport may be available if you have urgent travel needs. However, these options require an in-person appointment at one of just 26 passport agencies nationwide. If traveling within 14 days or in connection with the death or illness of an immediate family member, you can call to make an appointment.