As you go through your pre-travel checklist, there’s one item you might want to plan ahead for: your passport.
Although some destinations unnecessary U.S. travelers are required to have a passport, which you will need for international travel in most cases.Wait times are down for travelers after the COVID-19 pandemic Expect to wait about four months Routine service, but travelers still need to think ahead if they want to avoid disruption to their plans.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reduced the department’s ability to issue passports,” a State Department official told USA TODAY in an email. “However, we have made great strides over the past year to reduce passport processing times and our service standards are now almost on par with pre-pandemic standards.”
Here’s what travelers need to know about getting a U.S. passport.
How long does it take to get a US passport?
Travelers can expect to wait 6 to 9 weeks for regular service and 3 to 5 weeks for expedited service. State Council. These processing times do not include mailing times, which may vary across the U.S. Travelers may also have to wait up to two weeks from the date their application is “in process.”
How much is a US passport?
That depends. According to the regulations, travelers aged 16 and above applying for a passport for the first time must pay both the application fee and the processing fee. State Council. The application fee is US$130 for the Passport Book, US$30 for the Passport Card and US$160 for both. There is a $35 acceptance fee for each option.
How long is a US passport valid for? :Here’s what to know – and how to update it
Where can I travel without a passport? :Check out these 6 destinations
Those aged 16 and over renewing their passports must pay the same application fee, but are not required to pay a processing fee. For children under 16, the application fee is $100 for the passport book, $15 for the passport card, and $115 for both, with an processing fee of $35 for each option.
For the procrastinators out there, travelers can also pay a $60 fee to have their passports expedited. They have the option to pay an additional $18.32 for one- or two-day delivery, but that option is not available to passport card-only applicants.
The State Department provides a cost calculator On its website, this helps travelers determine how much they will pay.
Where can I get a passport?
For regular and expedited services, travelers can apply for renewal at the receiving agency or by post (some must apply in person, including persons who have never held a U.S. passport and children under the age of 16).Those with urgent but non-urgent international travel plans within 14 calendar days may call 1-877-487-2778 to make an appointment, with some restrictions, according to State Council.
Appointments are also available for travelers who “have a life-or-death emergency requiring international travel within 72 hours (3 business days)”.Eligible travelers can also Renew passport online. “The goal is to fully open online passport renewals to the public later in 2023,” a State Department official said.
Dos and don’ts for traveling with a US passport:They are strong but not the strongest
Planning a cruise? :Here are the documents and fees to keep in mind
Applicants can find the necessary forms and photo requirements on the State Department’s website website.
Do I need a passport to take a cruise?
Not always.U.S. citizens who book a closed-loop cruise that starts and ends in the same U.S. port can enter the country using a government-issued photo ID and birth certificate, but the State Department encourages passports “in case of emergencies, such as unexpected medical air evacuation or ship docking at an alternate port,” according to its website. Cruise lines may require it too.