JACKSONVILLE, Fla — A surge in travelers and people itching to go abroad has created quite the back up for the Department of State. It’s still experiencing the domino effect of the COVID pandemic. The standard passport application process is now doubling your time and limiting your options.
Floridians are especially on the move this summer, according to Triple A, more than half the state is taking a much needed vacation.
“When the restrictions of COVID was rescinding that’s when I started traveling more,” Chris Lezovich said.
A survey from Triple A indicates only a 25% of travelers have finalized their plans.
If you’re a first time out-of-country traveler or you need your passport renewed, the process takes time.
You can no longer renew your passport online. The Department of State halted that service on March 8. Now, you have to do it the old fashioned way—through the mail.
“Get all the paperwork sorted out way ahead of time,” Meghan Walch said. She works with InsureMyTrip and adds, you should not wait until the last minute.
Right now, the Department of State said it could take 13 weeks to receive a passport in the mail. You can pay the expedited fees and next day shipping cost to get it quicker, but it could still take up to 9 weeks. Travelers can also reach out to their congressman or congresswoman for help obtaining the passport quicker. There are exceptions for emergencies.
If it doesn’t come in time, you could be on the hook for your trip.
“Unfortunately, that’s not a covered reason for canceling a trip,” Lezovich said. “There is a coverage called, ‘cancel for any reason.’ You have to be purchasing the policy at least 10-21 days after your trip payment.”
With that option you can get back 50-70% of your money.
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