The wait time for passport processing is back to its pre-pandemic levels, meaning travelers can count on their long-awaited passports to arrive a bit earlier than expected. According to a recent announcement by the United States Department of State, passport processing times have dropped drastically over the past few months, reaching an average of under four weeks for regular passport applications. That’s a major improvement from April 2020, when the wait time for passports ballooned to over two months. The turnaround time for in-person applications was even shorter, averaging only two to three weeks. The improvement can primarily be attributed to the U.S. Postal Service, which implemented several measures to speed up the processing times for passports. For instance, the USPS worked with the U.S. Department of State to establish two “trunk lines” for passport applications in 2020. In addition, the changes came in tandem with increased demand as more and more Americans are expected to travel as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now given the “green light” for leisure and nonessential travel. Despite the improved wait times, travelers can expect to face some backlogs due to a high demand. The State Department has reminded the public that wait-times may vary depending on the volume of passport applications received. To speed up the process, travelers can apply for their passports online. Doing so will allow them to submit all the necessary information via an online form, skip the line, and perhaps even receive the passport faster. In light of the changing situation, it is essential for travelers to keep up with the latest passport requirements and turnaround times. The U.S. Department of State has urged the public to check their website regularly and be sure to book any international travel with plenty of lead time. Overall, the pandemic has proven to be a stressful time for travelers, but the recent drop in passport processing times is a much-needed relief for anyone hoping to explore a new country this year.