(Washington, D.C.) Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers sent a letter today to the State Department requesting a plan of action to address the long processing times for passport applications. This year McMorris Rodgers has helped over 80 Eastern Washington individuals and families with passport delays.
“As the summer travel season gets underway, there are numerous people in Eastern Washington in need of passports for trips and vacations abroad,” said McMorris Rodgers. “Unfortunately many of these people are experiencing long delays in obtaining their passports, often having to cancel or postpone their trips. While I recognize and appreciate the new measures put in place in order to secure our borders and ensure our national security, we must have an efficient system for applicants to receive their passports in a timely manner. I was pleased to see steps taken by the State Department this past week to correct this problem and hope they will continue to address ongoing concerns. I encourage anyone expecting to travel outside of the United States this year to fill out the passport application as soon as possible to prevent delays and complications.”
A new policy took effect at the beginning of the year that required passports for U.S. citizens flying to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. This new requirement increased the demand for passports nationwide, creating lengthy processing times for passport applications.
To address this backlog, the U.S. State Department recently announced that those traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda will be allowed to depart and enter the United States through September 30th with a government issued photo identification and Department of State official proof of application for a passport. The State Department also announced that those who still had to wait for passports, despite paying an extra $60 to expedite the process, will be eligible for a refund.
U.S. citizens with pending passport applications can obtain proof of application at: http://travel.state.gov or call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 with additional questions.
Click here to read the letter McMorris Rodgers sent to the State Department.