A Passport Crunch

U.S.A. passport book

A Passport Crunch

An appointment to get or renew a passport is an elusive proposition these days

As the world opens back up and vaccinated Americans are ready to explore the world again, many of them are realizing that before they can go abroad, they must first take a different kind of trip: to a U.S. Passport Acceptance Agency.

That's already a drag, but here's the bad news: if you need a passport (or have to get it renewed) you may not be traveling ... for a while.

The State Department said on Wednesday that they're currently dealing with a backlog of nearly two million applications caused largely by the coronavirus pandemic. One official told CNN that anyone submitting paperwork right now will not get their new passport “until well into the fall,” and that “last-minute passport appointments are extremely limited.”

Of course, with any bureaucratic red tape, there are industrious people finding workarounds. The New York Times reports that those who show proof of imminent travel within 72 hours of their appointment, have had success. So people are buying dummy tickets to the cheapest international destination to get their paperwork approved.

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The color of an American passport designates the type of traveler. Diplomats have a black cover while government officials and workers have brown or grey, respectively. Us mere mortals have the classic blue.

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