The Ultimate Guide to Renewing Your Passport During COVID-19

passports Jul 29, 2020

Is your passport expiring? Like most things in a pandemic, getting a new passport right now requires some patience, but it’s still possible. Although most passport offices are closed or in early stages of reopening, they are still accepting passport applications on a first come, first served basis through acceptance facilities (State Department partners like post offices and libraries) and mail. Expedited processing is not available, however. In this post, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about applying for or renewing a passport during the COVID-19 crisis and how we can help.

Most Passport Offices Remain Closed

Most U.S. passport agencies remain closed to the public except in the case of emergencies that require people to travel on short notice. The State Department is reopening in 3 phases; during the first and second phase, employees begin to return to the offices and process applications, and by the third phase passport agencies are back to normal operations. Right now, ten passport agencies are in phase 1, which means they are not open to the public except for those who need to travel within 72 hours for a family emergency. Six agencies are in phase 2, which means they are beginning to accept some appointments for non-emergency services.

Agencies in Phase 1 Are:

  • Arkansas Passport Center
  • Atlanta Passport Agency
  • Chicago Passport Agency
  • Colorado Passport Agency
  • Detroit Passport Agency
  • Honolulu Passport Agency
  • Minneapolis Passport Center
  • National Passport Center
  • New Orleans Passport Center
  • Philadelphia Passport Agency
  • San Juan Passport Agency

Agencies in Phase 2 Are:

  • Boston Passport Center
  • New York Passport Agency
  • Buffalo Passport Agency
  • Connecticut Passport Agency
  • Vermont Passport Agency
  • Washington Passport Agency

If your regional passport agency is not open, you can renew your passport via mail, if you are eligible, or you can drop off your passport at an acceptance facility like a post office. You can check acceptance facilities near you here, but make sure you call to check that they are accepting passport applications. We can also renew your passport for you with our door-to-door passport renewal service.

Passport Applications Will Be Delayed

Unfortunately, most passport applications are taking several months to process right now due to offices being closed. When our team spoke to representatives at the National Passport Center, we heard that the minimum processing time for a standard renewal is likely to be about eight weeks.

It is not possible to expedite your passport right now, but you can get a passport quickly if you have a life or death emergency that requires you to travel within 72 hours, such as serious illness or death in your family. In that case, you will need to make an appointment at your local passport office to receive a passport.

Final Thoughts

Although it may take a little longer than usual to renew your passport right now, it’s still a good idea to get it done if yours is expiring. Since most of us aren’t traveling right now anyway, you can get a head start and renew now. This may be especially helpful if your passport is expiring this year or next. We can help you renew your passport with our door-to-door service, or you can drop off your application materials at an acceptance facility near you. We wish you safe travels and thank you for staying informed.

More Travel Info

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