Thinking about traveling outside the U.S.? NJ passport alert
✈ NJ residents warned about a new passport delay issue
✈ Getting a new passport or one renewed may take several months
✈ The pandemic has created a huge passport backlog: What you need to do now
New Jersey residents planning to fly, drive or cruise anywhere outside of the United States are getting a passport warning.
U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said before making any plans to travel to another country, look carefully at your passport “and if that expiration date is already expired or if it’s less than 6 months (away) if you’re traveling abroad, you need to get a new passport.”
According to the U.S. Department of State, some countries require your passport to be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip, and some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.
You can get more details about passport requirements for airlines and other countries here.
“If you’re thinking about any possibility that you may go somewhere that is outside our country, then begin the process early," he said.
Why is this an issue now?
Menendez said it’s important to pay attention to this because as COVID restrictions are relaxed around the world “there’s been an unprecedented increase in processing times for new passports and renewals compounded by a backlog created during the height of the pandemic.”
He said as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, after being deluged with calls from New Jerseyans seeking help to get their passports renewed, he is pressing the State Department to fix an online passport renewal site that has been suspended since March 8, 2023, and seeking more funding to support passport processing.
Take action right away
He stressed this is a problem that needs to be addressed now.
“We’ve only seen the national backlog grow as wait times get longer and longer, it shouldn’t take a crisis, it shouldn’t get this bad before we see action out of Washington.”
The U.S. State Department website states that as of March 24th, routine passport processing times are seven to nine weeks. This timestamp does not include the estimated two weeks applications take to arrive by mail at a passport agency or center, nor does it include the two weeks needed to receive a completed passport in the mail.
David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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