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This is the moment Americans have been patiently waiting for: 2023 All US citizens are eligible to renew their passports online for international travel. The U.S. government made the decision after a successful pilot program launched this year showed there is high demand for a digital, smarter and faster application process.
Soon, the long waits we’ve experienced for passport renewals this year, both due to backlogs of demand and staff shortages, could be a thing of the past as the digitization of the process eliminates the need for postage and/or waiting to make an appointment at get passport authorities.
Sounds like one win-win situation For both sides, right? Here is everything we know so far about the future online application:
The 2022 pilot programs were a complete success
Earlier this year, hundreds of thousands of Americans reported having trouble obtaining new passports amid a surge in travel demand. As Covid restrictions fell and countries reopened to travel, long delays Affected were those who were either issuing their very first passport or simply renewing an existing passport.
This is an issue affecting travel plans not only for Americans but also for some Canadians Wrong flights booked So the authorities would give them priority in the line. Even then, Canada showed no signs of facilitating the application or putting it online. Its closest neighbor, on the other hand, ran several small pilot programs throughout 2022.
The first was in February and applied only to contractors and federal employees. Later in August, at the height of the chaotic summer, the privilege was granted to 25,000 other citizens, suggesting a big rollout is about to happen. Finally, on September 17, a final pilot program was held, which was expanded to include those who had created a MyTravelGov Account before the start date.
All three seemed to run smoothly, and no security concerns were reported, prompting the US State Department to finally make it official: Beginning in 2023, all Americans, whether they work for the government or are ordinary citizens, can apply for passports online, from the comfort of their own homes.
Will the process be faster and cheaper than before?
As stated by The New York Times, which first broke the news, the online passport renewal is a direct result of the executive order signed by President Biden in December 2021. At the time, she paved the way for the State Department to issue a modernization document, setting the precedent for the three pilot programs that have proved so successful.
Once the Executive Order is fully enforced, Federal authorities expect the passport renewal time to be reduced by 1-7 weeks, of course depending on the respective demand. Currently, Americans have to wait an average of 8-11 weeks when applying through the mail, or as of this year much more than thateven if you request expedited service.
The NY Times stated that a number of extensions were made up to 18 weeks to process, or about 4 months, seriously messing up the travel plans of those who had waited until this year to get their hands on a shiny new passport. So far, however, the US government has not given an exact start date for the online system it should be operational by early 2023.
In terms of fees, we expect that both the application fee and the “acceptance” fee for passports will remain the same. Currently, a passport book and card costs $160, while the acceptance fee for generally first-time applicants is an additional $35. On the other hand, You can save on postage and/or travel to the nearest passport office once digitization is complete.
The future of international travel is digital
Increasingly, International travel is becoming more digital-friendly. Recently, we reported that border guards are being replaced by electronic gates for faster immigration in a number of destinations, including in Europe, where Americans can already scan their way into countries like the UK, parts of France and Italy.
The ability to renew passports online seems like the next natural step, especially at a time when countries are eagerly looking for it reduce unnecessary bureaucracy in relation to travel. Be that as it may, flying abroad has its own set of rules that need to be followed – otherwise it can cost you the whole vacation.
When you fly internationally soon, Make sure you check the expiry date of your passport so that you are not prevented from boarding. If your document is about to expire or you have lost or damaged your document, request a new one as soon as possible, even if you don’t plan to travel in the near future.
So you always stay on the safe side.
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This article originally appeared on Travel Off Path. For the latest news related to your next trip, please visit: Traveloffpath.com
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Disclaimer: Current Travel Rules and Restrictions are subject to change without prior notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Before travelling, check with your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm entry of your nationality and/or any changes in travel requirements. Travel Off Path does not endorse travel contrary to government advice