Because of new passport laws, many new people are applying for passports. One of the most common questions people ask is, ‘how long to get a passport?’ This is a complicated question and there is no definite answer. The following article will try to explain the passport process and inform a new applicant what they can expect in terms of a passport time frame.
First, it is important to note that passport applications have skyrocketed in recent years. This is not due to a spike in international travel, but is instead due to a new law that requires passports for land travel to border countries. The law, which went into effect on June 1st, 2009, made passports mandatory for travel between the U.S. and Mexico or Canada. Word of this law caused a spike in passport applications as early as 2006.
The applicant is responsible for the first step of the application process. The applicant must obtain passport photos, a government issued ID card, and a proof of citizenship. The faster this part of the application is completed, the faster the whole process will go.
When everything is together, it is time to head to a pass port office to start the application process. In the United States, local post offices are the primary sources to get a passport application. While not every post office processes passport applications, many of them have this ability. It is best to check the USPS website for exact locations that offer this service.
Once the application has been approved by the application center, it is sent off for processing. This is the longest part of the application process. This is also the part of the application that worries most new applicants, as this part of the application has been known to take a great deal of time.
Today, the whole process is more efficient and worry free. Anyone that wants to go through normal channels can expect to get their passport in about two months. If that seems excessive, compare it to waiting over six months before these new laws went into effect. The entire process is much more efficient now.
The State Department also offers a passport-expedited service. Currently the waiting period for expedited passports is two to three weeks. The cost of an expedited passport is $60 plus the cost of overnight delivery. The State Department also offers various types of super-rush passports for dire emergencies. Obviously, it is best to try to plan ahead to avoid this kind of hassle. Applicants can also save significant money by obtaining the passport through standard channels.