People on both sides of folding tables processing passports in Duke's Penn Pavilion for OGA's annual Passport Drive

Longer Delays for Visas and Passports

COVID-19, higher demand to blame

-By Chuck Givens

August 19, 2022

Duke students, faculty and staff may want to revise their expectations about renewing their passports. Processing delays have become commonplace. Applicants should expect to wait six months to a year, and possibly longer.

“We want students to apply well in advance for passports because there is extraordinary pent-up demand for travel,” says Patrick Duddy, Senior Advisor for Global Affairs and former Ambassador to Venezuela.

People on both sides of folding tables processing passports in Duke's Penn Pavilion for OGA's annual Passport Drive
The Duke community taking part in OGA’s annual Passport Drive (Photo credit: OGA, Amanda Solliday)

The State Department hasn’t seen delays like this since 9/11. Because many consular offices closed during the pandemic, there is a tremendous backlog. In addition, now that restrictions are loosening around the world, more people are taking the opportunity to travel, and some are needing their visas or passports renewed or issued for the first time. “The passport agencies are committed to being helpful. It’s simply that there is an enormous flow into every one of those agencies,” said Ambassador Duddy.

“THE PASSPORT AGENCIES ARE COMMITTED TO BEING HELPFUL. IT’S SIMPLY THAT THERE IS AN ENORMOUS FLOW INTO EVERY ONE OF THOSE AGENCIES”

Ambassador Duddy has a warning: “If you don’t have a passport, and you apply for a program, it’s already too late.”

Duke faculty, students and staff should look forward to an opportunity to get their passports on the Durham campus. In February of next year, the Office of Global Affairs will host State Department officials who will process passports immediately on site. Look to the OGA website for updates or familiarize yourself with our 6-step list on how to get a passport using this link.

To check visa appointments and wait times, head to the U.S. State Department’s website using this link.