Passport Operations in Response to COVID-19

COVID-19 Alert
October 8, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

You can find Frequently Asked Questions about U.S. passport operations by expanding the gray boxes below.

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1. What is the current status of passport operations?

What to Expect:

  • Effective October 8, routine service can take up to 14 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received.
  • Expedite service (for an additional $60) can take up to 10 weeks from the day an application is submitted to the day a new passport is received. These door-to-door timeframes include both our processing times and mailing times on the front and back end.

Select Trackable Mail:

  • Send your application to us via USPS Priority Mail Express and pay an extra $17.56 for 1-2 day delivery of your completed passport. These services provide the fastest turnaround and protect your important documents

Use Self-Service Tools Online: Get your questions answered immediately by using one of the self-service tools available on our site. Check online for your passport status. Customer service representatives will not give status updates over the phone. 

Planning to Travel? Apply Early! Apply at least 4-6 months before planned travel. Due to limited availability for urgent travel appointments, we cannot guarantee you can receive in-person service at a passport agency or center. We are prioritizing customers with life-or-death emergencies. We do not charge a fee to make an appointment. Visit our Passport Agency and Center page to learn more.

Appointments are Limited, Must Be Scheduled by Phone: Call 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793 TDD/TTY from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, Mondays through Fridays. Our appointment line is closed on weekends and federal holidays. 

We temporarily disabled the online appointment booking system to ensure our very limited appointments go to applicants who need them for urgent travel. You will need wait to speak to a customer service representative to book an appointment. Learn more to see if you qualify for an appointment.

Renew By Mail: Adults with 10-year passports can renew them by mail instead of appearing in person.   

*If you applied over 14 weeks ago for routine service or 10 weeks for expedited service and have not received your passport, we may have sent you a letter requesting more information. We cannot continue processing your application until you respond to this letter. Learn more on our Respond to a Letter or Email page. 

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3. What should I expect when applying at an acceptance facility?

If you need to apply in person, we recommend you apply at an acceptance facility. Children under age 16, all first-time applicants, and applicants who have lost their passport or had their passport stolen must apply in-person. These locations include post offices, clerks of court, libraries, and local government offices. Contact your local acceptance facility to confirm it is open before you apply. Some locations may require appointments to enable social distancing. If you want to apply at a post office, you will need to make an appointment on the USPS.com website.

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4. What should I expect when applying by mail?

We encourage you to apply by mail when possible because it is a safe, contactless option for certain services. There is no need to be physically present at an acceptance facility, passport agency, or passport center for any of the following services:

  • Renew your U.S. passport
  • Change your name in a U.S. passport
  • Correct an error in your U.S. passport
  • Apply for your first U.S. passport card if you already have a U.S. passport book
  • Apply for your first U.S. passport book if you already have a U.S. passport card
  • Replace a limited-validity (valid for less than 10 years) passport
  • Report a passport lost or stolen (Note: You cannot replace a lost or stolen passport by mail, but you can report it as lost or stolen.)

Learn if you are eligible to apply by mail. Get started.

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5. What should I expect if I need to apply at a passport agency or center?

We have two types of appointments: Life-or-Death Emergency Service and Urgent Travel Service. You can only make an appointment by calling us. Se habla español.

You cannot walk-in. We do not charge a fee to make an appointment. You cannot transfer your appointment to another customer. When you call to make an appointment, we will provide unique confirmation information that our staff will verify on the day on your appointment. 

Life-or-Death Emergency Service: We are prioritizing customers who are traveling internationally in the next 72 hours (or 3 business days) due to a qualified life-or-death emergency. If you need this service, you can call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What number you call depends on the day of the week and time of day. Learn more on our Life-or-Death Emergency page.

Urgent Travel Service: Some agencies and centers are also offering limited appointments for customers who have urgent international travel in the next 72 hours (or 3 business days) for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency. You may schedule an appointment if you are traveling within 2 weeks or need a foreign visa within 4 weeks; however, the appointment cannot occur more than 3 business days before your date of travel, or 10 business days if you require a visa. Call 1-877-487-2778 or 1-888-874-7793 TDD/TTY from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, Mondays through Fridays. Our appointment line for Urgent Travel Service is closed on weekends and federal holidays. 

Preparing for your Appointment: Collect all of your application materials before you arrive for your appointment. Bring the information you got in the confirmation email from the National Passport Information Center when you scheduled your appointment. 

Use our online form filler to fill out your form and print it before you arrive for your appointment. You can also print a PDF of your form and complete it by hand in black ink before you arrive. Both of these options reduce the amount of time you spend in our lobby on the day of your appointment.

Arriving to your Appointment: We have fewer chairs and more signage in our waiting rooms to enable social distancing. We require appointments, and we currently do not offer walk-in services. You cannot transfer your appointment to another person.

*We ask that you come prepared and bring a mask or face covering to your appointment. While public health guidance has changed during the pandemic as more U.S. citizens are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, some of our agencies and centers are located in buildings that have different policies for wearing masks and face coverings. Follow the signs posted in the building, which will display the most up-to-date mask and face covering requirements.

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6. Why did you temporarily disable the online appointment system?

At 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, July 21, we temporarily disabled the online booking system for Urgent Travel Appointments to ensure our very limited appointments go to applicants who need them for urgent travel. You must call us if you want to schedule a new appointment or change your existing appointment. 

This change only impacts appointments at the U.S. Department of State's 26 passport agencies and centers. This change does not impact the appointment booking process at passport acceptance facilities which include post offices, libraries, and other local government offices. 

Why are you making this change?

We are making this change to address the problem of third parties booking appointments online using automated programs, or bots, and then selling these appointments to customers with urgent travel needs. We are not affiliated with any third-party appointment booking services, and we do not charge a fee to make an appointment. 

Third parties booked all available appointments within minutes of the appointments being posted online which prevented many of you from making urgent appointments, and made it difficult to determine whether your appointment was legitimate or fraudulent.

Calling us will improve your ability to make an appointment in the following ways:

  • Our call center representatives will provide you unique confirmation information that our staff will verify on the day of your appointment. If you are not the true appointment holder, you will be turned away on the day of your appointment.
  • The unique confirmation information will allow us to verify your appointment is legitimate, and ensure you are not being scammed.
  • The new process will ensure third-party services cannot book appointments. 
  • If you need to cancel or change your appointment, please call us. Your appointment will be assigned to a new customer calling to make an appointment. You cannot transfer your appointment to another customer.
  • While you will need to wait to speak with a customer service representative to book an appointment, we have added staff to handle the increased call volume, and updated our phone menus to help streamline the experience and reduce wait times.

How do I cancel my appointment?

If you need to cancel your appointment, simply forward the appointment confirmation e-mail that you received from the National Passport Information Center to NPIC@state.gov with “Cancel My Appointment” in the subject line. Do not include any questions, status update requests, or requests to change or reschedule your appointment with your e-mail as these inquiries will not be answered.

We appreciate your patience as we ensure appointments go to the applicants who truly need them.

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8. I have a pending application. Can I upgrade it for expedited service?

Yes. Expedited service costs an additional $60. If you applied and have not received your passport, you may call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 and receive instructions on how request to expedite your passport.

We will collect your credit card account information and send your request to upgrade your application to a passport agency. Your credit card will be charged on the date the passport agency processes your request. In some cases, you may not be charged, but all upgrades will be addressed in the order they are received. We will work to send your passport to you before your travel date. 

Please note our expedited service commitment is to process your application within 20 business days from the date we receive your application at a passport agency (or from the date you request an upgrade from routine to expedited service).  

Check the status of your passport online.

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9. Are passport agencies and centers still reopening?

Yes. While we are no longer referring to the phases of reopening because changes in phases no longer impact the services you will receive, all agencies and centers are processing applications. Not all agencies and centers are offering the same level of in-person service.

Visit our Passport Agency and Center page to learn more about the type of in-person services available at each agency and center, and how to make an appointment if you have urgent travel. Please note the number of appointments available may vary from week to week. 

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10. When will you return to your normal service times?

We continue to work to reduce processing times for both routine and expedited service, while protecting the health and safety of our staff and customers. We will re-evaluate the processing times on a rolling basis and will adjust them downward as resources allow.

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11. Can I request a refund?

If you paid the $60 fee for expedited service when you applied and you did not receive expedited service, you can request a refund of this fee. We cannot refund any other passport fees or your travel expenses if you missed your trip.

You can learn more about how to request a refund of the expedited passport fee on our Refunds page.

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12. Is it safe to travel internationally?

Conditions vary depending upon location. We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. Check our country-specific information pages to make an informed decision about your travel.