HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — If you’re planning to travel outside of the country on a cruise or flight this summer, you’ll need a passport. However, getting one can be extremely difficult right now.
Passport applications are at record-high numbers and with the demand only increasing as summer gets closer, travel plans for many may be impacted by delays.
The U.S. Department of State issued 22 million passports last year, a record that is likely to be exceeded by this year’s passport filings.
Due to the current demand, waiting times have grown significantly, and local officials are trying to speed up the process.
For North Alabama, the Madison County Service Center has a team tasked with processing passport applications and sending them off to the state department.
Madison County Judge of Probate Frank Barger explained his department is doing what they can to help expedite passport filings.
“We’re going to do everything we can to help the best thing people can do before coming to see us is calling or looking at our website or looking at the state department’s website and making sure you have everything in good order,” Barger told News 19.
Whether your looking to go on a cruise ride or fly overseas, if you have yet to file a passport application Judge Barger advises that it be done quickly.
“Do it yesterday if you are if you’re planning to travel this summer and you either need to renew or this will be the first time you’ve applied for a passport you need to do that immediately,” Barger said.
While routine passport applications are being processed in 10 to 13 weeks, expedited applications can be processed in 7 to 9 weeks.