USA (United States of America) Passport on blue travel wallet, wooden background. Top View (above)

Evgenia Parajanian/istockphoto

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If you've been so busy planning your itinerary, shopping for vacation clothes, and taking daily walks to prepare your traveling legs for an upcoming trip overseas that you've put off renewing (or getting) your passport, it's time to shift your priorities. 

The US State Department just extended passport processing turnaround times, which means it could take longer than usual for you to receive a shiny new passport. And the last thing you want is to have your fresh new vacation clothes but can't get to your vacation destination. 

Keeping your passport up to date can be tedious: You make an appointment to get your picture taken, fill out paperwork, and if you have children to secure documents for, there are often extra steps to take that can make the process all the more daunting. And getting a passport has never been a quick task, either. You don't merely apply for a passport or even a renewal, and have one in your hand the next day. 

Amid a spike in demand for such documents, the State Department says there were some weeks during the winter that they received more than 500,000 applications, exceeding their original projections for the season. To keep up with the demand, the department is extending regular passport processing times from 8-11 weeks to 10-13 weeks and expedited processing (which costs an extra $60) is now expected to take 7-9 weeks rather than the previous 5-7 weeks as of March 23. Processing times do not account for the time it takes you to mail your application in or receive your documents in the mail, but the State Department says that mail times could add up to four more weeks to the passport process.

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Passport processing times often fluctuate based on demand and as the State Department approaches its highest demand year ever, ensuring that you allow enough time to receive your passport is vital for travelers. If you aren't sure when your passport expires, it's time to double-check, especially if you have a trip coming up. 

To see all passport processing times (which can vary depending on when you applied), check your application status, or find answers to more passport questions, visit the State Department website.

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