Going to an aftermarket trade show? Avoid passport pain

There has been ongoing strain in the passport system in the United States that began during the early days of the covid pandemic.

If you’re traveling to an international aftermarket show (or even going away for a family vacation), I have some very important information for you. (This message is for my U.S. audience.)

Go check your passport. Right now.

Make sure your passport is still valid and has enough time on it for the country you’re planning to enter.

There has been ongoing strain in the passport system in the United States that began during the early days of the covid pandemic. Things improved a bit, but applying for a new passport, or renewing an old one has become a very time-consuming process that could threaten your travel to the next show. In short, you may not get your new passport in time to travel.

I first encountered this issue when I tried to apply for a renewal passport in early 2021. I gave it several months and still, no passport. As my travel grew closer, I had to secure an appointment at a passport agency — in Detroit, and this appointment was nearly impossible to get — and spend the night in a hotel to ensure I could make the early-morning appointment. 

Currently, the U.S. State Department estimates that it will take eight to 11 weeks to apply and receive a passport through the mail. Post offices and some libraries can take your application but they can’t issue a passport. They send it off to a passport agency. But the eight to 11 weeks is only processing. However long it takes to mail it in and receive it, add days to that. 

If you expedite your application and pay an extra $60, you can shorten the processing time down to five to seven weeks. If you have international travel in the next 14 calendar days and can get an appointment in-person at a passport agency, do it. And, keep in mind, these processing times assume you have all the documents you need and have sent them in. The absence of one document can lengthen the time it takes to get your new passport.

The people I encountered at the Detroit passport agency were professional, friendly and a pleasure to work with. They’re working under an immense amount of pressure to get a huge amount of passport applications processed. 

My advice, if you have travel anticipated — even in the next 12 months — make a plan for applying or renewing your passport as soon as possible.

For the latest news and information on the global automotive aftermarket industry, visit https://aftermarketintel.com. Do you have news? Contact Aftermarket Intel Editor Mark Phillips at mark@lpnewmedia.com.

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