NOTTINGHAM, Md. (WJZ) — As vaccinated travelers book the trips they’ve been dreaming up over the last year and a half, sluggish passport processing is getting in the way. AAA said to start the passport application process far in advance to avoid postponing or even canceling your getaway.

The State Department said processing a single passport application is taking longer than four months. Even if you pay for expedited service, you won’t get your passport for at least three months.

AAA said the processing time is three times longer than it was before the pandemic. The State Department said the dramatic delay is due to the pandemic-related issues and high demand.

“At AAA, we are seeing so many travelers, sometimes entire families, being forced to cancel or postpone their trips because passport processing has taken longer than they anticipated,” said Micki Dudas, Director, AAA, Leisure Travel.  “One of the first questions we are now asking our clients is about the passport status of all travelers.”

AAA provided these tips to ensure a hassle-free trip:

  • Check passport status of everyone with whom you plan to travel
  • Share passport status information with your travel advisor
  • Book travel that ensures your return date is at least six months before passport expiration
  • Initiate passport processing for:
    • New passport applicants
    • Passports that have expired or are set to expire within 6 months of travel
    • Passports that require a name change
  • Visit your nearest AAA office for your passport photo, application and instructions. For more information, visit AAA Passport Services.