This will be a quick post but I just wanted to remind everyone that if your passport is expired (or will soon be expired) and you need to travel internationally within the next few months, now would be a good time to renew your passport. Both the Department of State and the United States Postal Service are experiencing some significant delays due to the ongoing pandemic so expect renewals to take longer than usual. Currently, a routine renewal is taking between 10 – 12 weeks (up to 3 months) and expedited service is taking between 4 – 6 weeks. And that’s not including the delivery times on the front and back ends.
I just completed my passport renewal recently and I wanted to share my experience here as a data point for what you can expect. But keep in mind, your individual circumstances may be different from mine. If anyone else has any recent data points, please feel free to share your experience with either renewing or applying for a new U.S. passport in the comments section below. Please include which national passport application center (Texas or Philadelphia) you sent your application to.
Based on some recent data points, it looks like the national passport processing center in Texas is processing applications a lot quicker than the national passport processing center in Philadelphia. If you live in California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, or Texas, then you will send your application to the national passport processing center in Texas. If you live in any other state or Canada, or if you are requesting expedited service, then you will need to send your application to the national passport application center in Philadelphia.
Here’s my passport renewal timeline.
3/10/21 – I completed my renewal application online, printed it out; and sent it in along with my old passport and personal check to the national passport processing center in Irving, Texas via USPS priority mail. I just used one of those flat rate envelopes and I think it cost me like $8.00, which included insurance and tracking.
3/13/21 – USPS tracking showed my envelope as delivered. However, when I checked with the Department of State’s website, it did not show that my application was received yet. This is normal and many people have reported a delay from when tracking showed the application was delivered and when the DOS showed they have received it. The DOS website says that this can take up to 14 days.
3/18/21 – The DOS website showed my application was received and my application was now “in progress.” The estimated processing time was 10 – 12 weeks.
3/19/21 – My check was cashed.
4/27/21 – I received an email saying my application was completed and my new passport, passport card and old passport would be mailed to me separately.
4/28/21 – I received another email saying my new passport book was shipped with a USPS tracking number. The estimated delivery date was 5/1/21, sent from Tucson, AZ.
4/28/21 – I got another email that my passport renewal was completed and will be sent out to me. I’m not sure what this was all about but I’m assuming this was my passport card. No shipping info was provided.
4/30/21 – My new passport was delivered to my house.
5/1/21 – My new passport card delivered to my house. It was sent via first class mail and my old passport was received a week after that.
PRO TIP: If you are enrolled in Global Entry, it’s important that you update your Global Entry profile with your new passport number. However, it won’t let you do this immediately after you receive your new passport. It’s stupid. I know. But for some reason, it takes about a month or so for your new passport number to be recognized by the Global Entry system. If you try to update your GE profile too soon, the system will reject your new passport number as invalid and will make you go to a Global Entry processing center to update your profile. If you just give it about a month, you can go back into your online account and update it with the new passport number. Hope this makes sense.
So as you guys can see, it took almost two months for me to get my passport renewed, which was a pleasant surprise. But I have heard that applications sent to the processing center in Philadelphia are taking closer to 12 weeks to return, so your experience may vary. I hope this information helps someone out there. And please, if you have any additional data points, please share them with us in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!