Getting Your Passport During the Government Shutdown
While most of the federal government is shutdown, the State Department is continuing to provide passport and visa services due to a combination of separate funding and border protection being classified as an essential service. The State Department’s processing time remains at about four weeks for regular applications. Two weeks for expedited applications. Some passport centers are experiencing some delays.
While all post offices remain open because the US Postal Service is self funded, many federal buildings are closed. Passport centers within these buildings that use furlough federal employees may close. As the situation develops, additional locations may close and wait times may increase at remaining location. If the State Department must scale back its number of employees, processing times may increase.
Post Offices Remain Open For Business
Post Offices may continue to be the best option for some. But in some areas, especially major cities with large immigrant populations, waiting times can be several hours. The use of a private expediting company may be even more desirable because in addition to providing the usual help with the expedited application process, they will also be in constant communication with the relevant authorities regarding further developments. This may help avoid trips to a suddenly closed location or the need to wait at length at one of the few open locations. While private passport expediters do charge a fee on top of the regular passport fees, for many it may be well worth it.