Everybody knows that it’s necessary to have a passport to travel internationally and frequent travelers are known to diligently keep their passports up to date.
These days, though, even the most seasoned travelers are having passport issues, not due to fault of their own but due, instead, to a number of factors that are quite difficult to avoid.
Here is how to keep passport delays from ruining your much anticipated Los Cabos vacation.
Gather Documents Early
There are very specific documentation requirements for both new passport applicants and individuals renewing their passports.
Requirements include proof of U.S. citizenship, which is a birth certificate, Certificate of Naturalization, Certificate of Citizenship, or Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or in the case of renewals, a U.S. passport, which can be expired.
Photo identification will also be required, as will a photo for your passport.
In addition, you’ll need your completed application form for both original and renewal passports and photocopies of proof of citizenship and ID, in addition to the originals.
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Avoid Online Renewals
While online passport renewals were designed to help speed up the process, it was so far from the reality that they actually paused the online renewal process completely.
On March 8, 2023, the limited release of the service was paused so that improvements could be made after the experience for many users was not what was expected.
One of our own staff members was one of the first 500,000 customers to utilize the option and ended up scrambling to get to a Passport Facility a week before traveling when her passport did not show up in time.
While the option is currently paused, it might be advisable to avoid it for a while, even when it is back up and running.
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Determine Where You Will Submit Your Application
While there are only 26 regional passport agencies in the country, there are more than 7,000 acceptance facilities throughout the U.S.
The acceptance facilities are typically government offices, clerks of court, post offices, and public libraries.
First-time passport applicants will have to visit one of these agencies or facilities, while renewal applicants also have the option of mailing their applications and documents.
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Make An Appointment If Possible
The 26 passport agencies that can be found around the country require appointments.
The acceptance facilities vary, but those that do take walk-ins are often plagued with long waits during these unprecedented times of a major increase in passport applications.
To be sure you’ll get your passport in time for your trip to Los Cabos, you’ll want to make an appointment if possible.
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Don’t Forget To Consider Mailing Times
While the U.S. State Department does give an estimate for passport processing times, it’s important to remember that they do not include mailing times in that estimate.
For renewals, it can take up to two weeks for your application to arrive at a passport agency or facility.
And for both renewals and new applicants, it can take up to two weeks to receive your passport after being sent out.
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Have Your Form Of Payment Ready
The only place that you can pay for your passport with a debit, credit card, or cash is at one of the 26 passport agencies.
For mail-in renewals and for applications submitted to an acceptance facility you will need a check or money order for the fee.
For adult applicants, the current fee is $130 for a passport book and $30 for a passport card. Acceptance facilities also charge a $35 execution fee. It’s important to show up with the exact amount to avoid delays.
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Current Passport Application Trends
Currently, more people than ever are applying for passports and that number is sure to grow with the start of the summer season.
Processing times are currently 10-13 weeks for routine applications and 7-9 weeks for expedited service, not including mailing times.
To avoid any delays that might interfere with your Los Cabos vacation, be sure to start the process well in advance of your trip date.
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