WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A Palm Beach County travel agent is encouraging travelers to act fast if they need their passport renewed.
The U.S. Department of State is reporting a severe backlog and delay of the department's passport operation.
Reece Worldwide Travel is reporting the current wait time for expedited passports is 12 weeks and 18 weeks for general processing.
"With travel ramping up, people want to go out of the country. They're ready to travel," said Laura Reece, owner of Reece Worldwide Travel. "A lot of people have looked at their passports and they have been expired. You must have a current passport to travel out of the country. You can't use a passport card. You can't use your birth certificate."
PASSPORT RENEWAL DELAYS ✈️ The current wait time for expedited passports is 12 weeks and 18 weeks for general processing. Many of the delays can be attributed to low staffing levels.— Linnie Supall WPTV (@LinnieSupall) July 13, 2021
Laura Reece of Reece Worldwide Travel in Palm Beach County says "I would do it right now..." pic.twitter.com/F0r0rwIj5Y
Travelers who need a passport due to a life-or-death emergency can get priority with proper documentation.
Reece recommends opting for the expedited service to help with the turnaround time.
"It's worth the money," Reece said. "If you're planning on taking a vacation and you've already paid for your tickets and you want to go, I would do it right now."
Check the status of your passport online: https://t.co/Pw3MedSgd6. It may take 6-8 weeks for your status to be available. Our call center representatives are prioritizing callers with life or death emergencies and expedite upgrades, and cannot provide status updates by phone. pic.twitter.com/qfEchUNnaC— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) July 12, 2021
The U.S. Department of State is reporting the following times to obtain a passport:
- Routine: Save $60. Door-to-door service in 18 weeks (includes up to 12 weeks processing and six weeks mailing on front and back end)
- Expedited: Costs an extra $60. Door-to-door service in 12 weeks (includes up to six weeks processing and six weeks mailing on front and back end)
- Agency or Center: Extremely limited number of appointments: must have international travel in the next 72 hours (three business days)
Learn more about the change in passport operations in response to COVID-19.