It’s never too early for travelers to prepare for their 2024 spring and summer trips, even though the national backlog on passport processing has lessened.
And there’s one U.S. Postal Service site in Los Angeles that wants to help travelers with their passport applications.
The Barrington post office in Brentwood is hosting a passport fair on Sunday, between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Appointments are not required for the first-come, first-serve event, but the USPS said it will only be able to assist the first 175 applicants. Customers are encouraged to show up early to the post office, located at 200 S. Barrington Ave.
For an efficient visit, the post office recommends visitors fill out their forms ahead of time, and if someone is applying for a passport for the first time, they will need to bring a valid form of photo identification and proof of U.S. citizenship.
Earlier this year, those with wanderlust for foreign countries had to keep their feet on U.S. ground due to the national passport backlog.
In March, normal passport processing was taking 10 to 13 weeks, and expedited service was taking seven to nine weeks.
Officials said the pileup was a result of travel restrictions imposed earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic. When the restrictions were lifted, passport renewals and first-time applications surged.
Now the processing times have been shortened by three to four weeks.
As of Nov. 6, it was reportedly taking seven to 10 weeks to process a standard application, with expedited service taking three to five weeks.
These timelines, provided by the U.S. State Department, do not include the time it takes to send an application in the mail and receive a passport back, which is about two weeks each way.
“Customers are encouraged to get a head start ahead of their travel needs to ensure their scheduled plans for travel are met and to avoid last-minute issues,” said Natashi Garvins, a USPS spokesperson.
For more information on what documentation is needed for a first-time passport, passport renewal or a passport for a minor, visit the USPS website.
Garvins said the USPS accepts passport applications all year; the State Department has suggestions on its website for when travelers should begin the process based on their traveling needs, including urgent travel due to a life-or-death emergency.
Post offices are among several places that can help with or accept passport applications. You can also visit a federal Passport Agency in major cities including Los Angeles, or try one of the following:
Where can you get assistance with passport applications?
Once your application is submitted, you can check its status online or register for email updates.
Note that if you lost your passport in a major disaster, you may be eligible for a renewal fee waiver through the Disaster Recovery Reform Act.