Travel News

US Passport Update: First Week with Negative Numbers

Written by Charlie

Here is the latest US passport update but this is not a good update. This was the first week in a long time with negative numbers – check them out here.

Here we are back with another US passport update! This week, there was a negative turn which the State Department mentions could be due to local regulations and staffing issues. Let’s jump in and see what is going on in the numbers.

US Passport Update: First Week with Negative Numbers

Last week, the State Department was actually back to normal busy waiting times – which is admirable considering how long they had been closed and the backlog they had been dealing with. The numbers are still under 1 million passports awaiting issuance but the process went backwards a bit this past week.

For the week ending on August 26, here is the latest data we have:

Week (Thursday-Wednesday) Applications Received Passports Awaiting Issuance* Passports Issued
This Week (Aug 20-Aug 26) 165,000 938,000 156,000
Last Week (Aug 13-Aug 19) 143,000 923,000 209,000
2 Weeks Ago (Aug 6-Aug 12) 151,000 968,000 235,000

Sooo, what happened that they went down by 50,000 from the previous week? Also, you may have noticed the big increased in passport applications received. That likely had to do with the great progress the State Department had made in the last two weeks and people feeling somewhat better about getting their new passports back in less than 2 months.

Here is all that the State Department had to say about the downturn in numbers: “*The number of passports issued can vary due to many factors such as staffing levels and local conditions which may require an agency to temporarily close.”

That sounds like it could have been that some agencies may have had some spikes in cases which caused numbers of staff to drop a bit. But, as noted in this post, in the last week, 5 agencies either reopened or moved up another phase. Maybe the process of reopening/staffing up a level actually caused work at those locations to drop a bit as staff were getting back?

At any rate, it does seem that it was an anomaly and I would imagine next week will see a positive advance in numbers again.

What Are the Three Phases of Passport Operations?

Getting Your Passport Status and Update

Here is what you need to do, per the US State Department:

Status updates are available online or by calling us at 1-877-487-2778. You can go to our Online Passport Status System and sign up for automatic email notifications about your passport status.

You will receive an email when your passport is 1) In Process: your application is being reviewed at a passport agency or center, 2) Approved: your application has been approved and will be printed, and 3) Mailed.

If you receive a status update of Not Found, your application is still in transit to one of our agencies and centers or we are experiencing a temporary, technical issue with our Online Passport Status System. 

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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.

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