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The world is finally opening up and travelers are eager to head overseas this summer after more than a year of travel opportunities curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Bags are packed and flights are booked, but travelers are finding an unexpected hitch in their plans: expired passports.

The State Department, which handles passport services, is experiencing major processing disruptions intensified by a deluge of U.S. travelers looking to go abroad as vaccination rates climb and restrictions ease.

(1) comment


This is a very timely article, but I am skeptical as to the source of the problem. I just paid $214 ($188 Passport Fee + $26 Postage) for 'expedited' processing to renew my passport, with a State Department 'commitment' of 12 weeks (3 months), compared to a renewal fee in 1996 of $85. Good that inflation is so low, and but the State Department hasn't viewed citizen travel as a priority in a long time. The result is that I cannot commit to teach a seminar in Europe in the fall, not to mention the bad press the US is continuing to get for obstruction of international commerce due to an onerous set of banking regulations (FATCA), intended to block money laundering, but in fact motivating European banks to turn away US customers whenever they can, due to excessive reporting requirements and huge fines for non-conformance. I do hope we return soon to being a role model for democracy, efficient capitalism and just law.... (Michael Otten, Stonehouse Road, Scarsdale)

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