The Basics Travel News

How Are US Passports Processed? Here is an Easy Infographic to Show How It Is Done

a pile of blue passports
Written by Charlie

Ever wonder how US passports processed? Here is an easy infograph to show the process. This will help those of you still waiting for your passports!

With many people still awaiting their US passports to be either renewed or first-time passports to be issued, the US State Department has received a lot of questions about the status of the passports. They have done a good job of providing a status update each Thursday (check back later today for this) but now they also want to let people know what happens and how US passports are processed and made.

How Are US Passports Processed? This is How It Happens

One of the most common questions I have been receiving is – what happens if the passport renewal went to a passport office that is not open yet? Well, even that question has been answered a bit here.

a blue and white website with text and images

I have been told that the passports are all being handled on a first in/first out basis. When your passport is sent in, your check gets cashed and this has caused many to wonder why that happens months before the passport is issued.

The good news is that there is a real person that has opened that envelope and set the passport to be processed. That means it is not just sitting in an empty building someplace that has not yet opened. These passports are being sent to agencies/offices that have reopened so you should still be getting it on that basis.

So, your passport is sent, not to the closest facility to where it was submitted, to the center that can process it the quickest.

Passport Offices

a poster for a passport service

As you can see, there are 6 centers in Phase Two and 12 centers in Phase One. Most facilities are currently open in one of the three phases set up by the State Department. No agency has reached Phase Three yet, which will be the normal operations.

Some of the links on Running with Miles are affiliate links that pay a commission if a purchase is made. Running with Miles is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.