how to avoid passport renewal delays

How to Avoid Passport Renewal Delays

No one wants a trip to be canceled due to passport renewal delays, but it can happen if you don’t plan ahead for your renewal. Passport surge is a very real concern in 2017 as it is expected that roughly 46 million passports will expire between 2016 and 2018. To compare this to earlier years, only 14.6 million passport applications were received in 2015. 2017 is expected to see nearly 20 million passport applications which is the reason behind delays. As long as you plan ahead for your passport renewal or for a passport application, you can work around these delays.


On average a passport application is processed in 4-6 weeks, with the option to expedite in under 2 weeks. Due to passport renewal delays, this time has increased to 6-8 weeks with expedite times also increasing in a similar fashion. Knowing that it may take a full 2 months for a passport, you should plan to apply or renew with at least 3 months time to spare. If you are simply renewing a soon to be expired passport, you can speed your process up by mailing in the information. Mailing in your renewal application will take about 2-3 weeks. You can mail in your renewal if your passport meets the following criteria:


  • You mail your passport in with a filled out DS-82 form
  • You passport is undamaged
  • If your passport was issued at or after at 16
  • If you passport was issued in your current name


You will be required to send in your passport and a 2×2 passport photo with your application. In most cases your old passport will be returned to you, though it will no longer be valid.The U.S. Department of State recommends keeping your old passport around as it may be accepted as a form of ID and citizenship if you are to ever lose your current passport.


If you do not meet this criteria or need to apply for your first passport, you will need to visit an approved passport application center. These are typically your local post office, county clerk’s office, or local public library. You should also expect increased wait times at these passport application centers due to the increased volume of people needing to apply in person. When visiting a center, be sure that you have enough time to wait in line and that the location won’t be closing within the next hour to ensure that your trip won’t have to be repeated the next day.


Do you fall into the group that will need to visit a passport application center to get your first or renewed passport? If so you will need to bring a certified copy of your birth certificate. If you are applying for a passport due to a name change, you will also be required to bring any divorce decree, marriage certificate, adoption certificate, or a court order as proof. Luckily you may be able to order your birth, marriage or divorce certificate copies online from VitalChek! With our quick turnaround time, you’ll have the documents you need to get your new passport in no time!

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