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AAA urges travelers to plan ahead during passport processing delays

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 5:56 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:15 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - AAA is urging people who are planning international trips and need to get their passports renewed to start the process now in light of passport processing delays in the state department.

According to their website, the department says mail delays are impacting when they receive passport applications for processing. This is part of the ripple effects from the pandemic and a backlog of passport requests.

“We’re seeing significant delays with the state department in processing passports again - both new and renewal taking up to three to four months now,” said Martha Meade, a spokesperson for AA. “That’s about three times longer than it did pre-pandemic.”

Meade says the passport processing delays are disrupting travel plans.

“We are seeing folks, and even complete families, who are having to cancel or postpone trips because they anticipated getting that passport back in the processing time that they had allowed before the pandemic and it’s just not happening,” she said. “Unfortunately, that can be very disappointing and it can be very expensive if you don’t have travel insurance that covers you for something like this.”

Amy DeLoria says passport applications were submitted for her two sons on Friday. DeLoria says this is for a family trip to Mexico in January and was told it would take 18 weeks to process these passports.

“There’s a small bit of fear for sure,” she said. “Hopefully we have a good six-week buffer.”

Meade also advises travelers to start the process to renew or get their process now, especially six months before it expires.

AAA says some countries now require the passport expiration date to be at least six months after the date of return travel.

“If you go on a trip and you come home in August and your passport doesn’t expire until September or October, that is not good enough. You will not be allowed to board that airplane,” she said. “You need to make sure you have plenty of time on that passport, at least six months, before you leave this country.”

DeLoria says she will be waiting until those passports come in.

“We’ll be crossing our fingers that when we sit down at Thanksgiving, we’ll have our passports,” she said

Travelers can also expedite this passport application process, which will cost $60 extra and will take three months to complete.

Copyright 2021 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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