The United States Department of State announced it had issued a record number of passports last year, while also reducing wait times by two weeks.
According to the State Department’s official website, the government agency revealed it had issued more than 24 million passport books and cards between October 2022 and September 2023, the most ever in U.S. history.
In addition to record-breaking numbers, State Department officials reduced the wait time for passports by two weeks. Processing times for applications received on or after October 2 will be 8-11 weeks for routine service and 5-7 weeks for expedited service.
Processing times begin the day the government receives an application and does not include mailing time.
“Our dedicated staff have worked countless hours to reduce passport processing times,” a State Department spokesperson said. “We are continuously reassessing our operations to maximize efficiencies and are introducing innovations to our customer service and processing models.”
To continue improving the passport process, federal officials said they are investing in supporting and modernizing technology, increasing staffing levels by ten percent and adding hundreds of staff members from the hiring pipeline.
To ensure travelers get their passports on time, Americans are asked to apply well in advance of potential trip dates and at least 6-9 months before the passport’s expiration date.
In August, a report claimed that the State Department’s passport wait times ballooned to thirteen weeks as renewals reached an average of 430,000 per week. The government said the difficulties began during the end of the pandemic, when staffing shortages and increased demand caused delays.