BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – People across the country are caught up in passport delays taking a toll on summer travel plans. The State Department says passport processing times is between 10-13 weeks, not including mailing time.
Alabama Congressman Robert Aderholt’s office says they’ve been receiving an influx of calls for emergency passports from people whose passports have not come in as their trip departure date comes down to the wire.
“The United States Passport Office is really overwhelmed right now,” says Carson Clark, Aderholt’s communications director.
Aderholt has four offices in Alabama that people can call for help in emergency passport situations. Aderholt’s office says that pre-pandemic, it could expect three to four emergency cases at a time but currently, it has 30 open emergency passport cases.
“During the pandemic, people stopped getting their passports renewed. They couldn’t go on trips, so they weren’t really worried about it,” says Clark. “Now, people are wanting to go on trips and there’s kind of just, the passport office is overwhelmed right now with the number of people who are requesting passports.”
Travel agencies say they’ve also had more people postponing or canceling trips because at least one person’s passport hasn’t come in in time.
“My advice to anybody is if you are even considering traveling and your passport is expiring in less than 18 months, go ahead and put in your passport renewal now because most destinations require a minimum of six months validity be left on your passport,” says John Martin, owner of Travel Designers Birmingham.
Aderholt’s office says if you’ve got an international trip coming up between now and Labor Day, get your passport figured out as soon as possible and avoid booking an international trip going forward until the passport is up to date and in your hand.