As the COVID-19 vaccine continues to be administered to millions worldwide, it seems as if we’re beginning to move towards a sense of normalcy that hasn’t been felt in a very long time. Countries are beginning to reopen their borders to travelers that present a negative coronavirus test and to those who’ve received the vaccine, and the number of people who are traveling internationally is back on the rise.
Many people will be planning vacations for the near future, which means hopeful travelers will be scrambling to obtain their passports/visas in time for their trip. This could potentially lead to an overwhelming amount of people applying for a passport/visa at the same time causing processing delays. This is why it’s crucial that you plan ahead so that you aren’t put in a situation in which you end up missing your trip altogether.
Why is it Important That I Plan Ahead?
Travel destinations have been slowly reopening in recent months due to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine. People are beginning to feel more safe and secure traveling and are eager to book a trip as soon as possible. With this surge in travel will also come more people needing new or renewed passports/visas. This means that a substantial amount of people will be trying to obtain their passports and visas at the same time, which could cause significant processing delays.
Can I Apply For a US Passport Right Now?
As of April 8, 2021, there are a few ways that you can apply for a new passport or a passport renewal:
- Renewing Your Passport With Swift: Swift is currently offering expedited passport renewal processing for adult passport holders only. Please note that for this option you can expect the total processing time to be between 4-6 weeks. Our processing services that range between 1-10 business days are still unavailable.
- Renewal, New, Lost, and Child Passports by Mail: If you are in need of a first-time passport, minor passport, or need to replace your lost passport, unfortunately, we cannot assist you at this time. Luckily, the State Department is offering regular and expedited passport processing for new passports, minor passports, as well as lost passports. If you want to begin the process of obtaining one of these types of passports by following the instructions listed on the State Department website. You can expect regular processing time to take up to 12 weeks and expedited processing time to take about 6 weeks.
- Individuals Traveling Within 6 Weeks: If you have a trip that’s coming up within 6 weeks time, please note that the Passport Agencies have a limited number of appointments available that are mainly being given to those who have a life or death emergency abroad. If you’re looking to obtain a passport within 6 weeks, there is a chance that you could get an appointment but there are many restrictions.
Can I Apply For a Visa Right Now?
As of April 8, 2021, Swift is able to assist with visa processing for select countries only. Please contact us before sending in any documentation for visas as requirements and restrictions are changing frequently. To keep up to date on the latest visa processing information, you can visit our website.
When Will Passport and Visa Processing Times Return to Normal?
Unfortunately, there’s no telling when passport and visa processing times will return to normal. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you informed on our blog as well as in our monthly newsletter.