I just wrote yesterday about the huge backlog of passports and what the State Department had said about processing them. Well, they just released information that tomorrow, June 11, several processing centers and agencies will start with Phase 1.
US Passport Centers Opening in Phase 1
Remember, there are three separate phases for the reopening of US passport agencies and offices. This Phase 1 is based on local recommendations for people being able to go back to work and it includes the following Passport Agencies and Centers:
- Arkansas Passport Center
- Buffalo Passport Agency
- Chicago Passport Agency
- Colorado Passport Agency
- Connecticut Passport Agency
- Detroit Passport Agency
- Minneapolis Passport Agency
- National Passport Center
- New Orleans Passport Center
- New York Passport Agency
- Philadelphia Passport Agency
What Does This Mean for Your Passport Application?
They will begin working on passport applications in a first in-first out basis. So, if you had sent your application in during the first part of March, you could likely receive your passport before too long.
Can You Visit a Passport Agency for a New Passport or Expedited Passport?
But, this reopening does not mean that you can go to one of these centers for an expedited passport. Appointments for such passports are still only for those with documents life-and-death situations in a 72 hour timeframe.
Here is the rest of the information:
During Phase 1, limited staff are returning to work at these agencies and centers, allowing us to resume limited processing of applications we have already received. Applications will be processed on a first in, first out basis. We will continue to prioritize services for customers with life-or-death emergencies.
Customers who seek to apply at one of our agencies or centers must have an appointment due to a life-or-death emergency requiring international travel within 72 hours. Customers with appointments must wear cloth face coverings in all common areas, including our lobbies, and observe strict social distancing.
Customers may still apply at an acceptance facility or renew by mail, but should expect significant delays in receiving their passports and important documents. Contact your local acceptance facility to confirm if it is open or closed. During Phase 1, we will continue to recommend customers wait to submit new or renewal applications as delays will continue.
For more information on our current operating status and our plans to resume operations at our passport agencies and centers, please go to our COVID-19 Update page.
With 1.6 million passport applications currently awaiting processing, this is great news for all of those people waiting. While it will still likely take a couple of months to clear all the backlog, it is starting tomorrow!