Travel journalist shares tips for getting new passports during pandemic backlog


CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Travel journalist Peter Greenberg says Americans need to check their passport expiration date because the wait to renew could take several months.

On Wednesday, the State Department said that the wait for a passport is now between 12 weeks and 18 weeks. Greenberg believes it is even longer than that.

“It’s not 18 weeks, it’s almost six months,” Greenberg said.

He says multiple factors are causing the delay.

“The backlog started over a year ago, when so many of the workers at these 26 major US passport agency offices around the country were sent home,” Greenberg said. “It’s physically impossible for them to process a passport working from home. So it’s not just a postal service issue. It’s a human resources issue within those offices.”

He says the agency offices are dealing with a backlog now of 1.6 million passports that haven’t been processed.

“And that doesn’t even count the ones that are actually the applications for new passports or renewal passports,” Greenberg said. “It’s actually a larger number than that.”

Greenberg says people need to send in their requests long before going on trips.

Some countries won’t accept travelers if their passport has less than six months of validity left.

“Check the passport expiration date on your passport and even if it’s like seven or eight months away from now, apply now,” Greenberg said.

See Greenberg’s full interview in the player above.

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