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Passport backlog proving to be a vacation roadblock

SAN ANTONIO - A major backlog is causing headaches for people around the nation who want to travel.

With millions traveling again you might be ready to take off too. However, if you're traveling internationally be sure your passport is updated because a backlog could cause it to take up to five months to get a new one.

"People are just ready to go," said Karrie Weber with Tiki Travel Planner.

Weber said if your plans include traveling internationally you need one crucial item now more than ever.

"I had a gentleman call last week wanting to take his girlfriend to the Bahamas. First question was, ‘do you both have passports?’ He had one and she had just applied and I said, ‘we need to find you somewhere else to go’,” said Weber.

Passports normally take up to six weeks to process and get to you.

Right now, that's not the case. On a website managed by The U.S. Department of State the average wait time is listed as 18 weeks, which is just shy of five months. If you expedite your passport it’ll take up to 12 weeks, or about three months.

“It started during COVID, a lot of the offices totally shut down. Now, they’re reopening. Some areas are processing them a little bit faster than others,” said Weber.

Weber said she has never seen a backlog this bad for the U.S. since she started becoming a travel agent.

We asked you our viewers if you've had to wait recently and one of you said yes.

Another detailed their experience and said they started the process months in advance but still ended up not receiving it when they originally thought they would. Eventually they even called Representative Joaquin Castro's office for assistance before receiving the passport days before it was needed.

Weber said to have patience as it could be like this for a while.

“Coming out of this whole experience of COVID it’s going to take a long time to get back to normal,” said Weber.

The cost for a new passport is still the same at $145.

There are exceptions to quickly expedite a passport if you have an emergency. You can find those details and approved situations here.

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