Passport Delays- What Cruisers and International Travelers Should Do

If you are an international traveler then it is crucial to have a valid passport. The world is only getting more interconnected and the demand for travel is following suit. Because of this, passport applications are through the roof, and renewal delays are expected.  The U.S. issued a record-breaking 22 million passports last year and is on track to top that number in 2023. State Department processing times regularly are 6-8 weeks (2-3 weeks expedited) and are now 10-13 weeks (expedited 7-9 weeks)! These delays are not just an “inconvenience”. People are having to cancel trips and stress over the uncertainty around their travel plans. Additionally, many countries, where the economy relies on the travel and tourism industry, are being impacted and losing potential business. The passport agencies hope to return to normal by the end of the year by hiring more staff and utilizing more technology and automation, but for now…

What should you do? 

For one, know when your passport expires so you can plan ahead! To be safe, you should apply at least six months prior to an international trip and factor in mailing time. Be sure to check the country’s travel requirements, as most countries require visitors’ passports to be valid for six months at the time of travel, and some six months from the intended departure date. Keep in mind that Expedited Passports can only process so fast, but this and priority mailing are still an option for an extra charge. Once submitted, check on your status of application regularly as well as check the government’s official website for any new updates. Try to be flexible with any international travel plans that are close to your expiration date OR read further for a PRO TIP….

PRO TIP: Get a Passport Card!

The passport card provides a convenient way to access some benefits of international freedom without carrying the full-sized passport booklet. It is similar to a credit card which makes it easily portable. Like regular passports, they last for 10 years, so if you time it right, you can still travel internationally with that when your passport has expired or you’re waiting on a new one. The passport card is more limited than a regular passport. The passport card cannot be used for international air travel. It’s used to enter the United States at land border crossings and sea ports of entry from Canada, Mexico, Caribbean countries, and Bermuda. (SO ITS GREAT FOR CRUISERS) 😉 Additionally, the passport card serves as a valid form of identification, like state-issued ID, for domestic flights within the United States and can be used as an official identification document for various non-travel-related purposes, making it versatile.

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