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    Why Does it Take so Long to Get a Passport?

    When waiting to receive your passport, it can feel like a lifetime for it to arrive. From applying for your passport to mailing in your documents and then waiting for your passport to be processed – we get it! The entire process can seem long. If you’re wondering why it can sometimes take weeks for your passport to go through the whole process, here’s what you need to know about why it can take so long to get a passport:

    How Long Does It Take To Get A Passport?

    Pre-pandemic, normal passport processing times would take anywhere from 4-6 weeks.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, current passport processing times change frequently. As of September 16, 2021, Swift is currently offering one passport processing option for new passports and two passport processing options for passport renewals. 

    If you’re interested in obtaining a new passport, Swift can obtain your passport in 7-10 business days. It’s important to note that this service is limited and we are only able to take appointments for the service on a first-come-first-served basis.

    If you’re looking to get your passport renewed, we have a 4-12 week expedited option, as well as a 7-10 business day option. Please call ahead if you’re interested in our 7-10 business day option. 

    Current Passport Processing Times

    Information Updated March 22, 2023:

    Current passport processing times are 8-11 weeks for routine service through the US Passport Agency or you may pay a fee to have your passport expedited which takes 5-7 weeks. 

    Swift also offers expedited passport services for travelers.  We have options that range from 3-4 business days to 4-6 weeks. 

    Information Reported September 2021:  Current passport application times are slower than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the current processing times for both new passports and passport renewals:

    New Passport Processing Time Options

      • 7-10 business days. It’s important to note that this service is limited, and we can only take appointments for the service on a first-come-first-served basis.

    Passport Renewal Processing Time Options

      • 4-12 weeks 
      • 7-10 business days. Please call ahead if you’re interested in this option.

    Can You Avoid Long Passport Processing Times?

    As of September 16, 2021, routine passport processing times can take up to 18 weeks if you try and obtain your passport through the government. This is due to the number of passports that are backlogged. 

    Luckily, you can avoid long passport processing times if you choose Swift to obtain your passport. We can help you get a new passport in 7-10 business days and a passport renewal in as little as 7-10 business days. Contact us today if you’re interested in beginning the process of obtaining your new or renewed passport.

    How Long Does an Expedited Passport Take?

    Swift can obtain your new passport in 7-10 business days. This service is limited, and we are only able to take appointments on a first-come-first-served basis. If you need a passport renewal, you have the choice of our 4-12 week option, as well as a 7-10 business day option. Please call ahead if you’re interested in our 7-10 business day option.

    If you have any questions about obtaining your new passport or passport renewal right now, please don’t hesitate to contact us. One of our knowledgeable team members would be happy to help! If you’re ready to get the passport process started, you can do so on the Swift website. Please complete the contact form below if you have additional questions. Happy travels!

    20 thoughts on “Why Does it Take so Long to Get a Passport?”

    1. I live in Israel and recently applied for renewal of both my Israeli and US passport. The Israeli passport took 3 days to renew and I received it within one week. It’s been 3 weeks so far and I still haven’t received the US passport. Now I see that it may take another 3 weeks and I think it’s ridiculous. I would have thought the Israeli one would take longer since Israel is surrounded by enemies.

    2. In European countries you get your passport at the time of application. The whole process takes roughly 30 minutes if you have an appointment and you walk out with your brand new passport. It has to be said though that you apply at the Police Station and you see how your passport booklet is being printed in a state of the art machine. Here in the USA you apply in odd and random places that then need to send your application somewhere official, probably in a different state. It’s a little bit embarrassing how outdated the US is in many aspects…

    3. Land of the free… When you aren’t even allowed to leave it…
      In my country a passport takes at most five business days to be done.
      America is a joke.

    4. The USA is a world super power with many enemies over seas. The mere SIZE of the USA and all the foreigners that live within this nation is huge! Comparing tiny Isreal or any European country to the USA is like comparing a Watermelon to a Grape!

    5. I’d like to know the gory details of EXACTLY what happens, each person/place involved, what they do, how they do it, why they do it, if it sits in a pile on someone’s desk for most the time, etc. Finally, I’d like someone to fix it so we are at least within one standard deviation of mean compared to other developed countries’ time to process these.

    6. I don’t see the need for a passport anywhere in the world. I’ve been through Canada (driving) 5 times with nothing more than a driver’s license and their designated amount of cash to prove we could make it through without relying on them.

      I’ve been to Mexico countless times and a cruise through the Caribbean with no passport. But I’m also a person who thinks it’s no one’s business if I want to take drugs or transact sex. Weird I know. Home of the free is more of a suggestion than true.

      I’m not going to give you my info just so I can post a comment either.

    7. Sherry A Mobley

      Ive applied for expedite for both myself an husband with our travel dates on it in which is coming up in a few days an we have nothing. It should not take this long an criminal background check for nursing dont even take this long. An you can not get help your on hold for hours an hours just to get hung up on.

      1. Hi Sherry… The fastest processing time the Passport Agency is offering is 4-6 week expedited processing, and if your applications are within that time frame they are still on time. travel.state.gov is the best resource in trying to obtain an appointment at a regional Passport Agency to try and get your passports issued. Hope this helps!

        1. Sherry A Mobley

          Sorry it dont. They are not doing apt ive tried that seeing how im getting hung up on after being on hold for 4 hours everyday.

    8. I got one in Peru the same day I aplied for it, and one from Chile in about two weeks doing it throgh the embassy in Peru, yet my mom can’t even get an appointment for a US passport and has to wait weeks after the appointment to get hers. How? Why?

    9. The same situation here. Applied to my baby first passport on 04/13, still waiting, we lost our trip this week. Called several times, I was luck only had to wait 2:30 each time but no help, no information just the recommendation to wait or try the online appointment, over the phone only life or death situations. I also went in person at the national passport center last week, as I leave in DC area. Big building pretty empty. The guard was nice enough and told me to leave as no one would help or came to talk to me. I had my baby with me and all documents in case they give me a chance… unfortunately no nothing. Keep waiting

    10. It is a joke. The US passport government site indicates that the mailing will take up to 6 weeks on front and back end and processing will take 10-12 weeks. You need to add at least 2-3 weeks to make appointment to apply at local post office.
      As a matter of fact, it took exactly 4 weeks my passport application to get to the processing center.

      I talked with my friend who is a Korean who was a legal resident here the other day. For comparison, it takes 3-4 days to get a new passport in Korea. Even he got his new Korea passport through Korean embassy in L.A. within 2 weeks (which Korean government issued and shipped here). To add the insult to the injury, he paid around $45-50 that included shipping. I paid $145 ($110+$35) for my passport.

      It’s not a matter of how many passports they are processing. It is the system and management. Can anyone explain how come it takes 4 weeks for the delivery of my application to the processing center? It is just .gov issue.

      1. There are a lot of factors going into the processing times. Something to consider- In march to April of 2020, the US Department of State conducted one of the largest repatriations of all US Embassy and consulate staff in its history, all of these employees are now being returned to their posts so that US Travelers can go abroad.
        Cost of a passport has been the same for quite a number of years, the bulk of the cost of the passport is used for funding Department of State emergency protections of US citizens abroad.

    11. If background check is what is being done, that take so long, I wonder what they are checking for a 19 month old. And to compare the call wait times of the passport agency to other government agencies like USCIS (don’t even bother) their call system is a joke. I called pretty early yesterday 8:01 am ET. The machine told me 25-30 min wait time then it got to 20-25 I was so happy I was making progress and then to 15-20min (in actual time this was already 8:40 am. All of a sudden I heard my wait time was now over 1.5 hrs wait time. I was furious!!! After several attempt the system finally prompted to take call back option which I reluctantly did. They eventually called at 13:54 ET. Then the agent was very impatient. So I have tried for 2 days straight on hold to have you call and be impatient. And why does it take a letter with a 50 cent postage to be mailed in 3days to anywhere in the US but have a passport application take 4 weeks!!! ( I did a mail in voters registration update it didn’t take 2 weeks for the card to get back to me). We have a family trip in September and we still need a visa. Making so worried. I did an upgrade to expedited service over the phone with the agent just to tell me she was going to send my information somewhere else to have it processed. Goshlee!!!!! Extremely outdated is what the passport agency is.


    12. Roxanne Thomas

      Same here I had trip planned to Germany for July 2nd but it doesn’t look like I am going to get my passport. I applied back in April and it was delivered on April 26th and their system said they received my application on June 3rd. There is no way it should take that long to even begin processing my application. Why can’t the offices have longer hours like most places of business, you would think that they could stay open past 3:00 so more appointments could be made.

    13. Geez! I am not alone. Same situation here. We had to cancel our vacation. This is stupid crazy. My 2 yr old sons application has been ‘in process’ since May 27 and we have nothing! I was also on hold for over 3 hours and the guy was a total jerk and had no answers. I have been in touch with our Senator’s office who is trying to help me, and they too can’t get any info. The federal government needs a better system and open up to full capacity. When I originally made his passport appointment (in April) I couldn’t find anything within 4 weeks in and around Houston. This ridiculous.

    14. I applied for my 9 month old baby march 27, I forgot some information and they have recived the rest of the info on may 11 and still nothing 🙁 i am desperate trying to travel, all my family lives overseas and they still havent met my baby. Customer service is horrible and they dont help with anything and the longest I had to wait on hold was for 5 hours.
      Please if anyone knows anything like how much longer am I supposed to wait if anyone has experienced this and ended up receiving your passport let me know! Starting to get hopeless

    15. I applied for myself and my triplets on 4/13. Received passeports for my triplets by June 8. As for myself, which is a renewal, I am still waiting.

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