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State Dept. Says Passport Processing Times Back to Normal

September 10, 2007

State Dept. Says Passport Processing Times Back to Normal
Sept. 10, 2007 – The U.S. State Department says that passport processing times are back to normal after dealing with months of major delays. The department experienced a backlog brought on largely by the provisions of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. The department says that is has restored passport service to the standard six to eight week processing time for routine passport applications, and no more than three weeks for expedited service. To date, the department said it has issued more than 16 million passports in fiscal year 2007, which ends on Sept. 30, compared to 12.1 million issued in fiscal year 2006.

In order to deal with the crisis, the department hired hundreds of employees at passport centers after the processing time reached more than three months for a standard application.

"We’re very pleased that we’ve been able to get back to the customer service standard that has long been our desire, and pleased that we’ve been able to do so in accordance with the commitments that we made to the American people and Congress," Deputy Spokesman Tom Casey said.

The department said it plans to expand passport facilities and continue to hire more passport specialists. The demand for passports is expected to continue to increase as WHTI requirements will extend to land and sea as early as January 2008. For more information, visit

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