Travel plans? Allow lots of time — months in advance — for passports
New Jerseyans making travel plans are being advised to allow for at least three months to receive U.S. passports.
Routine service from the U.S. State Department can take up to 18 weeks from the day a passport application is submitted to the day a new passport is received, according to the Monmouth County Clerk's Office.
Expedited service, which costs an additional $60, can take up to 12 weeks.
There's also caution about traveling abroad even if a passport is not yet expired.
“Depending on the country, travelers may be barred if their passport is due to expire within three to six months of their travel date,” according to Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi. She has advised residents to check their passport expiration date before making plans for international travel this summer, fall and early winter.
“Although my office can provide assistance with the initial filing of an application, unfortunately we have no control over the processing timeline because that is a State Department function,” Rajoppi said. “This is the longest delay I have seen in years and it appears related to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their operations.”
County offices that are authorized to accept passport applications forward them to the State Department for processing.
Updates on wait times and additional details about renewing or obtaining a U.S. passport are available at the State Department website.
In addition to traveling out of the U.S., passports will remain a sufficient form of identification for domestic air travel, even after the federal Real ID Act eventually is enforced.
Travelers 18 or older using a driver's license for identification at U.S. airports must have one that conforms with the Real ID standards, starting in May 2023.
This past spring, the Department of Homeland Security extended that deadline from October, in part because the COVID-19 outbreak made it harder for states to issue new licenses.