Navigating the Passport Application Journey: A Comprehensive Guide

For avid travelers, a passport is akin to a magical key unlocking doors to diverse cultures and far-flung destinations. However, obtaining a new passport or renewing an existing one can take longer than anticipated. The anxiety of waiting for this crucial document may be alleviated by tracking the passport application status during processing. In this detailed guide, we will explore the avenues for checking your passport status, understand the meaning behind status updates, and address potential concerns if the passport arrives after your planned trip.

Checking Passport Application Status:

Whether you applied in person or opted for passport renewal by mail, keeping tabs on your passport’s progress is crucial. The U.S. Department of State provides two primary methods for checking your passport application status: online or by phone. Email updates, while available for specific purposes, cannot be used to track the passport application status.

Online Method:

This is the most efficient way for most individuals to check their passport status. To utilize the online passport tracking system, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Last name.
  • Date of birth.
  • The last four digits of your Social Security Number.

It’s important to note that passport tracking is not available for special issuance passports, including diplomatic, official, service, and no-fee regular passports, as well as those issued by the Special Issuance Agency.

Phone Method:

Alternatively, you can check your passport status by calling 877-487-2778. Customer service representatives are available during specific hours, Monday through Friday, and on weekends. A teletype line is also available for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing at 888-874-7793.

Understanding U.S. Passport Status Updates:

Once you locate your pending application, you can enroll in U.S. passport tracking updates by providing your email address. Here are the critical status updates and their meanings:

  • Not Available: This indicates that your passport has yet to reach a passport center and may take up to two weeks for arrival. This status may also appear in case of technical website issues.
  • In Process: Signifies that your passport application has reached a passport center and is undergoing review.
  • Approved: Confirm that your application has been reviewed and your new passport book is being printed.
  • Passport Mailed: Indicates that your passport has been sent via mail to the address provided in your application. The tracking number can be obtained through the U.S. passport application status page.
  • Supporting Documents Mailed: Denotes that supporting documents, such as an old passport or birth certificate, have been mailed separately from your passport book.

Passport Processing Duration:

The processing time for a passport can vary, with standard processing estimated to take 10 to 13 weeks and expedited service taking seven to nine weeks. Mailing time is not included in this estimate, so it’s essential to factor that into the total time required to receive your passport. If additional documents are requested during the process, responding promptly can help expedite the processing time.

Dealing with Passport Non-Arrival:

If your passport is marked as mailed in the system, and you have yet to receive it within 14 days, contacting the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778 is advisable. In such cases, filling out a DS-86 form to report the non-receipt of your travel document is necessary within 90 days of the passport issue date. Please do so within this timeframe to avoid reapplication for a new passport with associated fees.

It’s crucial to note that if the passport arrives after reporting it missing, it will be canceled, rendering it unusable for travel.

Passport Non-Arrival within Specified Timeframe:

If your passport hasn’t arrived within the designated timeframe as indicated on the Department of State website, and you’re scheduled to travel within the next 14 calendar days, it’s crucial to reach out to the National Passport Information Center. They can coordinate with the passport agency handling the processing on your behalf. Depending on your travel date, it may be essential to schedule an appointment at a passport center and request expedited travel passport service. For added convenience, you can also explore a budget-friendly option by utilizing a suitable budget money template for your passport-related expenses.

Recap on Tracking Passport Status:

To recap, tracking your passport status can be done online or by phone, with the processing time estimated at 10 to 13 weeks for standard service and seven to nine weeks for expedited service. Contacting the National Passport Information Centre is recommended if your passport has yet to arrive within two weeks of being marked as mailed. Making an appointment at a passport center may be necessary for imminent travel.


As you navigate the passport application journey, staying informed about your passport’s status ensures a smoother and less stressful experience. By utilizing the available tracking methods and promptly addressing any concerns, you can embark on your international adventures with the assurance that your passport is on its way.

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