SAN DIEGO — If you’re planning on taking an international summer vacation this year, now is the time to get your passport in order. An “unprecedented” demand for passports has created longer processing times that could delay your summer travel plans.
The State Department says they are on track to set the record for the highest passport demand year in history, surpassing previous surges set in 2007 and 2017.
The State Department is warning travelers to double check their passport expiration dates and renew early. Most importantly, get your paperwork ready before booking reservations and booking flights.
“We’ve had an unprecedented demand,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said to Congress during a March 24 budget hearing on Capitol Hill. “We’re getting 500,000 applications a week for a passport, that’s 30%-40% above last year, so, it’s dramatic.”
Blinken said a record 22 million passports were issued in 2022. He says demand indicates the department is on track to surpass that record in 2023.
Due to skyrocketing demand, processing wait times for passports has changed.
- Regular applications: 10-13 weeks for processing
- Expedited applications: 7-9 weeks for processing
- Processing starts when the application is received at a passport center. It can take up to two weeks for your application to be received.
- Processing times could increase along with demand.
- Check your status
You can check your passport application status here.
San Diego Rep. Scott Peters (CA-50) says his office has been inundated with requests from San Diegans asking for help with delayed passports.
“Due to heightened demand, the US Passport Agency indicated that expedited services are reserved for emergencies and special life events, such as a wedding or funeral. On average, my office is receiving 30 requests every week for assistance with passports,” Peters said.
Peters says his office cannot guarantee an expedited passport, but can offer assistance if you’re traveling for an emergency or special life event.
“I urge the people I represent to check their passports before making any reservation as many international tickets are non-refundable,” Peters said
Blinken says the State Department is working ''aggressively'' to recruit more employees to work at passport agencies and centers.
WATCH RELATED: State Department issues travel warnings in Mexico after deadly cartel kidnapping