While the number of passport applicants is at record levels, staff levels at the State Department’s Passport Services office has dropped 14% leading to a 50% increase in the amount of time it now takes to obtain a passport.

Passports Taking 50% Longer to be Issued

Prior to June 2019, it took roughly four to six weeks from the time you submitted your passport application until you received it. Now the State Department is advising applicants that it will take between six to eight weeks to receive your passport.

According to the Washington Post, the Trump administration has reduced the number of passport specialist from 1,457 in January 2017, to 1,253 now, a decrease of 14% at a time when passport applications are at historic levels. This year the State Department expects to issue 18.6 million passports. But staff levels have been reduced as part of the administration’s effort to reduce the size of government. ​

Advocates Cry Foul

Consumer advocates point out that applications are not subsidized by the federal government. Rather applicants bear the burden/cost for the government’s expenses in issuing passport through application fees paid by the applicant. They argue the State Department should have sufficient passport specialists to meet the demand since the applicants are paying the cost.

​The Passport Services office notes that it offers an expedited service. For an additional $60 you can get your passport in two to three weeks.

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