Travel News

US Passport Update: Progress is Slow but Good News for Those Waiting a Long Time

Written by Charlie

Here is this week’s US passport update. There was a slight dip in passports processed due to the holiday but a good look at which months are now done or almost done.

Here is your weekly US passport update! If you are waiting for your passport renewal or a brand new US passport, this report may not make you feel all that relieved! But, let’s jump into the numbers and see what is going on.

US Passport Update

Remember, they are processing them a first come/first out basis. To understand how the whole passport processing is accomplished (as well as where your passport is sent), check out this post for a cool infographic to break it all down.

Here is how the State Department did in the last week, as well as the two previous weeks:

Week (Thursday-Wednesday) Applications Received Passports Awaiting Issuance** Passports Issued*
This Week (Sep 4-Sep 10) 110,000 944,000 129,000
Last Week (Aug 27-Sep 3) 151,000 919,000 168,000
2 Weeks Ago (Aug 20-Aug 26) 165,000 938,000 156,000

The Reason for the Drop in Numbers

If you look at these numbers, they may not be that encouraging at first glance. After all, the State Department only cleared a net 19,000 passports in this past week. But, September 7 was Labor Day, a federal holiday. That meant that it was really only a 4 day work week. Plus, take into account that it was the final vacation weekend of the summer and many employees may have taken off on Friday or Tuesday as well, which would account for the small numbers.

March Is Done, April – June are Almost Done

The good news is this little note from the State Department:

As of September 10, we have completed processing applications received in March and are 97 percent through the applications received in April, May, and June. Due to nationwide variations in staffing and the type of applications, some of our passport agencies and centers are already working on applications received in July and August. If you applied before April and have not received your passport yet, we may have sent you a letter requesting additional information to continue processing your application. Please respond to this letter.

So, if you have been waiting since March – June, you may not have received your passport because either they need more information or you should receive it this week or next week. Definitely check your status to see if they need more information from you!

There was some movement in the Passport Center/Agency Phases this week as well – Detroit moved to Phase Two and Miami moved to Phase One. This means that every single center or agency in the country is now open, except for Houston.

At present, no center/agency is at Phase Three which means that walk-ins are still not allowed and emergency applications are still reserved for life-or-death situations.

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

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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