Americans will once again have the chance to renew their passports online sometime towards the end of 2023.
The online passport renewal option (OPR) was first launched as a pilot by the U.S. State Department in February 2022, first exclusively for federal government employees and contractors. The OPR was expanded to the public in August 2022 and, since then, more than 565,000 passports have been renewed by the online system.
The State Department closed the OPR portal at the beginning of March, explaining that, after the first few pilot programs, it would be making improvements to the system “to optimize the user experience for renewing passports online.”
A spokesperson for the State Department told TMR this week that, while there is no exact date targeted yet, the online portal will once again open to the public “at the end of 2023.” Starting then, the spokesperson added, about five million Americans will be able to use the portal each year to renew their passports, which would represent two-thirds of all renewals and roughly 25% of all applications.
“In time, OPR will save Americans time and effort, making it more convenient to renew their passports,” the spokesperson said.
For those that already have a passport, renewal is currently taking 10 to 13 weeks, not including mailing time. Those who need it quickly can get it expedited, which would cut down the renewal time to 7 to 9 weeks. And those who need it quicker than 7 weeks (traveling internationally within 14 calendar days), can schedule an appointment with a passport agency or center.
Some have had success contacting their local representative in order to get passports turned around quicker, however, there is no guarantee that will work. Congressman Ralph Norman of South Carolina, for example, recently wrote on his website that his office “will do everything possible to help those constituents who need assistance with passports. However, it is important to understand that every situation is different and ABSOLUTELY NO GUARANTEES can or will be made.”
For cost, a normal application fee for a passport book costs $130, a passport card costs $30, and a passport book and card cost $160. Those who are looking to expedite through the State Department are required to pay an extra $60.