Heading out for a spring break bonanza in the Caribbean? A sultry summer getaway in Spain? A cozy winter holiday to see pals in Calcutta? You’ve just touched on the three toughest times to obtain a passport, thanks to the flurry of applications that hit when prime travel seasons are ramping up for full gear.
High-Volume Passport Times
Spring and summer come with a load of applications from folks looking to their annual summer vacations, with a big surge in travel typically hitting over the Memorial Day weekend, according to the US Travel Association. While many domestic destinations are on the list, Forbes notes Americans are also keen on heading to London and Paris for the spring holiday.
Labor Day is another hopping travel time, barely giving folks a breather before gearing up for the onslaught of heavy winter holiday travel. From Thanksgiving moving forward, travelers are globetrotting to visit family and friends for the holidays, and then to escape the winter cold in warmer international destinations.
London and Paris are still on the list, according to WalletHub, and they’re joined by trips to Mexico, Australia, South Africa, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. People also tend to head to Spain and Italy for their winter vacations.
What This All Means
Does this mean, then, the only good time to apply for a passport is during a brief travel lull somewhere in September or March? Not necessarily, but you would be wise to pick off-peak travel times to apply for your passport. Other options include:
- Apply much earlier than needed. The US Department of State recommends applying for your passport a few months in advance so your travel plans aren’t tanked by an overload of applications or other unforeseen issues.
- Check current processing times. Before you apply, you can check the current processing times for US passports, which usually range from four to six weeks but can extend up to 10 weeks during peak application periods.
- Go for expedited passport services. The Department of State offers an eight-day expedited processing time. Or you can speed it up even further with Swift Passport and Visa Services. Our flexible expedited services feature processing times that range from one business day on up, depending on the services you need and how soon you need them.
No matter when or where you’re traveling, we do our best to process your passport as quickly as you may need it — even if that falls during peak passport season.
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.