Backlog prompts long lines for those looking to renew or apply for passports

Local news

People seeking to renew or apply for a passport lined up early outside the Federal Building in West Los Angeles Friday morning.

A massive backlog caused by staffing shortages at the State Department has increased the processing time for passports from weeks to months.

“I applied for five passports about three months ago. I got three back and two didn’t come back yet,” Paul Meyer said outside the Federal Building Friday. 

A department official says a backlog of 1.5 million to 2 million passport requests means that applications submitted now probably will not be processed until the fall.

Rachel Arndt, deputy assistant secretary of state for passport services, said the department is increasing COVID-19-reduced staffing throughout the United States as pandemic restrictions are eased.

But Arndt said Americans needing to apply for or renew a passport should do so at least six months ahead of when they plan to travel.

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