On November 6, 2023, the U.S. Department of State announced, for the second consecutive month, that processing times for passport applications have improved.  The Department is now processing routine applications in 7 to 10 weeks and expedited applications in only 3 to 5 weeks.  This is an improvement of 1 week for regular applications and 2 weeks for expedited applications, and it represents the second positive adjustment in processing times in 2023.  Applicants should be aware that processing times begin when the Department receives the passport applications and do not include mailing times. 

Between October 2022 and September 2023, the Department or State issued more than 24 million passport books and cards, which is the most passport applications ever processed in history in a single federal fiscal year.

Despite the announcement, passport applicants are advised to apply as early as possible and to pay the extra fees for expedited service and return delivery.  As passport application volume historically dips in autumn, these continuously improving processing times may be temporary. 

The Department of State is taking steps to make improvements to passport processing in 2024.  Department leadership previously announced a sustained investment in IT infrastructure and staff, such as the hiring of 177 new passport adjudicators and rolling out the online passport renewal program.   Without continued systemic improvements to passport processing, long processing times could remain a seasonal irritation for travelers requiring advance planning and flexibility.