When coronavirus was declared a worldwide pandemic in March, much of the travel world, including the processing of official travel documents, was put on “pause.” Applications still came in, but offices closed on March 19 and the only thing you could get was a passport for a “life or death” situation. You couldn’t even get your representative in Congress to intervene.
Welp, the U.S. government is finally allowing employees back into offices so they can process the backlog of thousands upon thousands of applications and renewals. Here’s the plan:
We had reported a few weeks back that there was a backlog of 1.6 million passports that needed to be processed. That number is now 1.7 million.
Fourteen passport processing centers reopened on June 15. Employees are working on the backlog of applications but due to the needs for social distancing, it’s not yet a full staff. They’re working on applications in a first-come, first-served order – so applications received in February, and then March, will get processed first.
With officials’ hopes to process roughly 200,000 applications per week, they think they should be done with the backlog in about 8 weeks. Once they’re caught up, they can work on new applications – so if that’s what you’re waiting for, expect delays of 2-3+ months (which, frankly, was a much better estimate than I was thinking, with almost 2 million backlogged).
Passports for “life or death” situations can still be obtained, but expedited services for passports are still not available at this time.
Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers still aren’t open and won’t be until at least July 6.
If you’re applying for Global Entry, officials say the fastest way to get it done at this time is to apply for conditional approval via their website and then complete the process at a participating airport upon returning from international travels.
Heads up that conditional approval can take anywhere from fifteen days to 5 months (!!!) to receive. If you want to book an interview after July 6 instead of walking in after travels abroad, heads up that demand is expected to be high and chances are it will be difficult to get an appointment.
Global Entry applicants who are conditionally approved are usually allowed up to one year to complete their interview for enrollment, but U.S. Customs & Border Protection recently extended that window to 485 days (roughly 16 months).
If you already have Global Entry and just need to renew, if you do that before your current enrollment expires, you’ll get an 18-month extension, instead of the usual 6 months.
Residents of New York are still not eligible to apply for, or renew Global Entry membership, due to the freeze by the current federal administration. 🙁
Good news! The TSA PreCheck program was not closed down for the pandemic, so there are only minimal, if any, delays or backlogs. Processing usually takes about 2-3 weeks.
H/T: N.Y. Times
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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Passport Agencies made sure they deposited my check on March 20, 2020.
If the Passport was not issued, then you should not have processed the check.
It’s ridiculous, I need my passport for work, I requested a renewal and this would be the 4th passport on March 7, 2020.
Since it is unlikely it took 2 weeks to get there, can only surmise it’s riding someones desk.
When I called in May, I was told to come to New Hampshire to pick it up. I live in Delaware and sent my renewal to Philadelphia, which I had always done.
The officer, advised me to resubmit my renewal application, passport fees and expedite the service.
I didn’t and am glad. What poor customer service!
I still don’t have my passport and stated I needed it for work.
Currently, I took a leave to buy some time to get the passport.
If they agency cannot produce the product then they should refund the monies!
I applied for global entry mid June, was pre-approved in two or three days, and have an interview scheduled in Chicago during the first half of July. Much faster than this article suggests
The wait time for new Global Entry applications is NOT anywhere up to five months. My spouse and I applied back in December and are still waiting for conditional approval so we can get a final appointment with CBP. There is a thread over on Flyertalk where people are sharing their wait times for GE. Right now people that applied in September. 2019 are finally being approved. At this rate I still have several more months before our applications get looked at.
Here is the thread at Flyertalk for anyone that might be interested: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trusted-travelers/1066899-global-entry-processing-timelines-first-time-applicants-us-citizens-lpr-s.html
Applied to renew my Global Entry on February 17. And yes, they took the money right away. I still am waiting for approval!!!!! Here it is, August 4 – almost 6 months later. They can’t blame this on the virus because they had a full month to process it before things were beginning to be shut down. When I applied 5 years ago it was approved within a few days.