By Rich Edson, Adam Shaw | Fox News
The State Department is ramping up its passport processing, three months after it drastically reduced operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The department reduced operations in March and only had enough staff to process passports in life or death situations, as well as for members of the Armed Forces and health care worker applicants.
STATE DEPARTMENT REDUCES PASSPORT SERVICES TO ONLY THOSE WITH LIFE-OR-DEATH EMERGENCIES
But now the department has started Phase 1 of reopening, which allows staffing to increase dependent on regional conditions, and more staff began returning on June 3, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch told reporters Friday.
Risch said that the State Department is aggressively increasing processing capability and that as states reopen across the country, more staff will return.
As of Thursday, more than half of staff had returned, meaning the agency can now process several hundred thousand applications a week.
But there is a backlog, with oldest applications now going back to February, meaning that there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty — and that someone who applies now for a routine passport will have to wait at least eight weeks to have that fulfilled.
Officials are now working on the backlog and hope to have it cleared in six to eight weeks.
The State Department has 1.7 million applications, slightly higher than what it processes every month. It normally processes about 18 million in a normal year.
- Fed Faces Jittery Markets Ahead of Key Policy Meeting That Will Consider Stimulus Rollback
- Federal Govt Whistleblower Goes Public with Secret Recordings: ‘Government Doesn’t Want to Show the [COVID] Vaccine is Full of Sh*t’; ‘Shove’ Adverse Effect Reporting ‘Under the Mat’
- Arizona Woman ‘Mistakenly’ Injected With COVID-19 Vaccine
- Boxer-Senator Manny Pacquiao to Run for Philippine President
- Del Rio Mayor Calls Out Biden, Harris for Failing to Visit Border in Crisis: ‘Why Aren’t You Here?’
- Trump Promises ‘Orderly Transition’ After Biden Certified as President-Elect on
- Trump Says Supreme Court ‘Incompetent and Weak’ Over Election Fraud on
- NH’s Voting Machines Are Capable of Redistributing Votes on
- Dominion’s Parent Company Arranges $400 Million Placement 1 Month Before Election: SEC Filing on
- Joe Biden listed as criminal suspect in Ukrainian court on