U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Q: What do Iowans need to know about
obtaining or renewing passports?
A: The U.S. Department of State
processes passports for American citizens. In recent months, the federal
agency is experiencing significant backlog as global travel picks up since
COVID-19 effectively shut down international travel. Like many Americans,
Iowans are getting frustrated with delays and disruptions to their travel
plans while they wait for passports to be processed. The U.S.
Department of State is receiving approximately 310,000 passport
applications weekly, a dramatic increase contributing to the backlog. Even
if Iowans don’t have international travel plans, I advise people to check
the expiration date on their passports. Get the renewal process started
sooner, rather than later. As always, my six state offices are available to
assist Iowa families who have passport questions or who are concerned about
travel disruptions because of an expired or delayed passport.
Q: Who needs a passport to travel?
U.S. passports are issued by the
U.S. Department of State. U.S. citizens need a passport for overseas
travel. If considering a trip outside the country, be sure to check
every family member’s passport expiration date before booking flights and
making travel arrangements. Don’t forget, infants also require a valid
passport to travel abroad. Passports for those 16 and younger are
valid for only five years and require the parents or guardians to accompany
the minor when making application at a Passport Acceptance
Facility. Find a local passport acceptance facility here
. Most often, eligible adults may
renew passports by mail with form DS-82
. Check U.S. Passports (state.gov)
to learn which
documents and forms are needed to obtain, renew or replace a passport. Keep
in mind certain countries will not allow entry if a traveler’s passport is
set to expire within six months of entering the country, even if one’s
itinerary has the traveler returning before the passport expires.
Q: What tips do you give Iowans applying
for a passport?
A: Troubleshoot unnecessary delays by
making sure all supporting documentation is accurate and complete. It’s
important to follow instructions to a tee. Notably, any questions about
citizenship, missing ID documents, fees or photos will require even more
processing time. Passport renewal applications require different
documents than new passport applications. New applications require
certified identification documents. Note any supporting documentation will
be returned in a separate mailer after the passport has been approved and
mailed to the applicant. For peace of mind, applicants may wish to pay
for additional mail tracking services. As soon as a passport is
received, be sure to sign it immediately. And always take precautions to
protect passports from damage, theft and loss, at home and while traveling.
Q: How long is the turnaround time for
renewing a passport?
The U.S. Department of State
reports routine service may take up to 18 weeks from the day an application
is submitted to the day a new passport is received. Due to the surge in
passport applications, the time frame may extend even longer. To learn the
current processing times of passport applications, check online
here Application Status (state.gov)
may pay an additional $60 to expedite service and shorten the processing
time. In addition, an applicant may pay an additional fee for overnight
return delivery. Check here to learn about additional services and fees
Q: How can Iowans check the status of
an passport application?
: While an application is pending,
the U.S. Department of State encourages applicants to enroll and check
their application status
here U.S. Passport Application Status (state.gov).
24/7 online tool provides the same information as a customer service
representative at a call center and takes much less time than making a
call. Should an unexpected emergency arise, the U.S. Department of
State may be able to provide same day service at one of its passport
facilities. This requires an appointment and proof that one’s situation
qualifies for immediate assistance. To request such an appointment,
learn more here Life-or-Death Emergencies (state.gov)
Senate offices are glad to provide guidance and assistance to Iowans
encountering delays with their passport applications. To assist you, a
consent form is required to look into your case. Fill out and submit the
here Help With Federal Agencies | Senator Chuck Grassley
. I highly recommend Iowans plan well ahead to avoid
problems should travel emergencies arise or passport processing delays ruin
a dream vacation. Although my office can’t guarantee a desired outcome, we
stand ready to help Iowans who are in dire straits waiting on their