Passport Issues – backlog & delays


Next month Jeri and I may be traveling to Mexico for a quick getaway. We are getting free airfare and 4 night lodging as part of a promotion. I wont go into all the details here, but we did join a time share with Diamond Resorts which we can get out of in 10 years if we aren’t happy with it.

We looked at our passports and both expire after this trip ends so we were ready to go (or so we thought)! I heard somewhere that passports need to have 6 months remaining on them or it may not be considered valid to return to the United States. WHAT!!! That just doesn’t make any sense, why not just put the passport expiration date 6 months earlier if that is the case. We weren’t told about this when we booked our trip and we only found out when it was about 30 days prior to departure. Jeri’s passport expires early next year. She filled out an online application, printed it off, got her passport picture, and took it all in to the passport office in Provo just to double check everything. They told her that it would take12-18 weeks to get the passport processed and shipped and we only have 4 weeks. The other problem is you have to mail in your current passport, so if you don’t get it back in time it’s not like you can attempt to travel on the old one. What should we do?

We decided to submit it and hope for the best. We paid to expedite the passport and for 2 day shipping. Apparently there is a huge backlog of processing passports because everybody is looking to start traveling again now that COVID is more under control and restrictions are loosening. We found a Facebook group called “Passport Applications” that is full of helpful people and information. For people who still don’t have their passport within two weeks of their international travel dates, can book at appointment at one of the passport processing offices (none in Utah, but we could get a cheap flight to a nearby state). These appointments fill up quickly, but new ones are added at midnight each night. If you are lucky enough to get an appointment, it has to be within 3 days of your travel and they can usually expedite your passport and get it printed same day or next day. Members in this Facebook group also recommend you contact your Congressman and Senator because they can assist in pushing applications along. I’m in the process of getting this started now. Here is Senator Mike Lee’s website for this issue. I’ve learned a lot (more than I ever wanted) about passport processing the last week.

We hope everything works out to get us our passport in time. If you have upcoming travel, get this process started 4-6 months before your trip for less stress.

See this recently published SL Tribune article for more info.

7/31/21 Update: We received the passport via overnight mail this week. I’m not sure what combinations of events allowed this to happen in under 4 weeks, but we did all the recommended steps and it worked. It’s good that we only have to go through this process every 10 years (5 years for minors).

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