Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Tim Walberg (MI-07)
July 27, 2021
Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Tim Walberg (MI-07) signed a bipartisan letter to the Biden Administration urging them to address the backlog for new and existing passport applicants. The letter, which was directed to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken,called for pursuing any means available to speed up the timely issuance of passports.
“In recent weeks, I have heard from an increasing number of constituents who are beyond frustrated with the extreme delays in getting their passports,” said Walberg. “With so many people in limbo, it is past time for the State Department to take swift action to resolve this unacceptable bureaucratic backlog. For individuals with upcoming international travel, be advised that you should start the application process earlier than expected and please contact my casework team if you should need any assistance.”
The letter to Secretary Blinken was led by U.S. Reps. French Hill (AR-02) and Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06) and was signed by over 200 bipartisan House members. In the letter, Walberg and his colleagues outlined the unprecedented delays both constituents and staff caseworkers have faced calling the National Passport Information Center, and pressed for an increase in staffing at passport offices, walk-in appointments, and capacity at call centers. A PDF of the letter can be downloaded here.
According to the State Department’s website, routine passport processing can take up to 18 weeks, and expedited service, which costs an additional $60, can take up to 12 weeks.
In March 2020, the State Department put passport applications on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The passport application process resumed in June 2020, in which the State Department was forced to recall essential employees back to work due to a more than 1.8 million passport application backlog. This has resulted in the severe processing delays that many individuals are currently experiencing.
The State Department provided the following guidance for passport applicants:
- Apply Early: Applicants are recommended to apply at least six months prior to their planned vacation.
- Check Passport Expiration Date: In advance to booking an international trip, double-check the expiration date on your passport. Please note that children’s passports are only valid for five years.
- Certify applications are accurate and complete: Complications in processing the application regarding ID, fees, photos, or citizenship may cause delays substantially longer than 18 weeks.
- Applicants should use traceable mail: Using traceable mail to expediently ship one’s application to the State Department and purchasing overnight delivery for the agency to return the completed passport may reduce wait times.
Those who wish to check their application status may do so at: passportstatus.state.gov. Those seeking additional information regarding passports may do so at: travel.state.gov/passports. Walberg’s casework team can be reached by calling his Jackson office at 517-780-9075.