How Long Does It Take to Get a Passport for Travel

The question of how long it takes to get a passport depends on a few variables which include the number of applications that Passport Services has to process at the time you apply, the location you apply and the date of your departure. Let look at each one of these and determine how they can affect the time it take you to get a passport.

Passport Services Processing Times

The processing times for the Department of State Passport Services are modified according to the number of applications submitted at any given time. Some of the factors that affect the time it takes to process applications include holiday travel, natural disasters and international events. All these factors conttribute to an increase in demand of passports and an extension in the processing times.
As the holiday season approaches, more and more Americans apply for passports in preparation for their vacations. The largest increases occur as summer vacation and winter break draw near. Also, natural disasters of large magnitude such as the tsunami in Asia or the earthquate in Haiti often have the same affect. As family members and relief workers prepare to travel to the disaster location, Passport Services is flooded with requests. International events such as the Olympics and World Cup that draw visitors from around the world can also contribute to an increase in processing times.
There have been times in the past when it could take up to 12 weeks or more to get a passport. More recently, the processing time has been 4-6 weeks for routine service. When demand is low, this can drop down to only 3-4 weeks. Expedited services usually takes 2-3 weeks although it can take longer.

Places to Get a Passport

The place you submit your request can determine how long it takes to get your travel document. Applications that are mailed in either directly or through a passport office can take up to 6 weeks for standard processing or up to 3 weeks if they are expedited. Again, processing times are affected by the factors listed above.
United States citizens can apply at a regional agency in order to get a passport faster. Evidence of a departure date within two weeks if not visa is required or within four weeks if a visa is needed must be submitted. Applicants can apply at the regional processing center themselves or they can authorize a qualifiedpassport expediting service to submit their application forms for them. In either case, it is possible to obtain passports the same day that the forms are submitted. In an emergency situation, a passport can be secured in a couple of hours or less.