As the summer travel season gets underway, with many vacationers wanting to go overseas, there are more frustrated plans due to long waits to obtain and renew passports in Tarrant County. Passport processing times were extended again earlier this year as Americans prepared for summer travel.
The State Department first reported an increase in passport application processing times before spring break. In March, the U.S. State Department said passport applications were up 30% to 40% over 2022. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the 500,000 weekly applications were “unprecedented demand.”
Members of Congress took note, as Representatives Jasmine Crockett, D-Dallas, and Keith Self, R-Dallas, joined nearly 200 members of Congress who signed a letter to the State Department in May requesting information on passport backlogs. In the first three months of 2023, more than 235 million tourists traveled worldwide, up 80% from 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the World Tourism Organization.
EXPECT PASSPORT PROCESSING DELAYS IN TARRANT COUNTY
At the five Tarrant County offices that allow passports, the next available appointment is through mid-July. After booking and appointment, it can take 10 to 13 weeks to process the application, and another two weeks to receive the passport in the mail.
The State Department advises expediting passports, but costs range from more than $300 for up to nine weeks to more than $2,000 for two days. In addition, offices have stopped allowing walk-ins after 1 p.m.
If they will be traveling within seven weeks, applicants may request an urgent passport appointment at an office or center. The appointment must be scheduled within 14 calendar days prior to the date of international travel.
Processing for emergency travel – life or death – can be done on a limited basis at passport offices and requires international travel to be completed within 72 hours.
WHERE CAN I RENEW MY U.S. PASSPORT IN TARRANT COUNTY?
There are five secondary courthouse passport application acceptance locations in Tarrant County. The secondary offices are located in Fort Worth, Hurst, Arlington, Lake Worth and Southlake. Waiting times for these locations are cited on the website.
Other acceptance facilities include post offices, courthouses, public libraries and other local government offices.
Search for the nearest passport application acceptance facilities through the Department of State’s “Passport Acceptance Facility Search” page.
HOW CAN I RENEW MY U.S. PASSPORT?
Passports can only be renewed by mail or, if it cannot be done by mail, in person.
To renew by mail, the following five requirements must be met:
- The passport must be in your possession to submit with the application.
- The passport cannot be damaged, except for normal wear and tear.
- The passport was issued when you were 16 years of age or older
- Passport was issued within the last 15 years
- The passport was issued in your current name or you can document a name change.
If renewal applicants do not meet the five requirements to renew by mail, they must go in person to a passport processing center. In August 2022, the State Department launched a trial period of its online passport renewal service, but temporarily closed it to new users on Feb. 7. The department plans to periodically reopen the service to new customers on a limited basis before a full launch later this year.
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