After several months of improving processing times, the State Department announced yesterday that it is now processing routine U.S. passport applications in 6 to 8 weeks and expedited applications in only 2 to 3 weeks. This is a substantial, multi-week improvement from early November when the State Department last announced faster processing times. Notably, this represents a return to the same projected processing times in place in March 2020, immediately before the COVID-19 pandemic compelled the suspension of routine passport services for several months.

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 and could worsen in the first quarter of 2024.