How Passport Approval Delays May Impact Your H-1B

Entering a foreign country like the United States as a non-citizen isn’t a simple task. Each individual needs documentation that proves they have permission from the originating country, such as a visa. But they also need proof of identity accepted as authentic worldwide, and that’s where passports come into play. However, if you’re planning to travel across borders any time soon, you should know that passport approval timeframes are currently significantly delayed. This could affect your H-1B travel, as we’ll explain here.

Passport Validity Dates for Travel

When was the last time you looked at your passport’s expiry date? If you think you might be traveling within the next year, you should pull the document out now and check that important date. If it’s coming up soon, within a year, you should start planning to renew it today.

Not only do you need to be concerned about getting it renewed before it expires, but many countries require a passport’s expiration date to be 3-6 months past your travel dates. For instance, if you’re planning a visit to another country and plan to be gone until May of the following year, your passport should be valid until August of the next year at a minimum. This varies by country, so check the requirements of each place you plan to visit before you go.

Renewal Processing Time and Delays

Typically, a routine passport renewal takes up to nine weeks. You could pay to expedite yours, but that takes about four weeks, sometimes slightly longer. But now, delays and backlogs in the system are pushing renewal times back to almost three months, with expedited processing times at almost two months. None of these time frames includes postal delivery, which could be an extra week or so.

Keep in mind that those lengthy times also don’t take into consideration any problems with your passport. If that happens, the government will return your application and ask for further evidence to clarify the processing agent’s concern. This could add weeks or longer to your renewal request.

In the meantime, your H-1B renewal is coming up, or you’re trying to obtain one for the first time, and you need a valid passport with an expiration far in the future. What should you do?

Don’t Wait to Renew Your Passport

Concerned about your passport’s expiration and how it affects your trip to the US? Go ahead and start the renewal process today. In most places, you can apply for a renewal within nine months of the expiration date.

However, if you’re worried your visa status could hinge on the time it takes to process your passport, add the extra fee for expedited processing. You can also pay extra to have your passport mailed to you using Priority Mail Express. This guarantees 1-2 day delivery to your house after your passport is approved. You must include the express delivery fee separate from your check or money order.

In some situations, rush passports can be approved within three business days. These are only for emergencies that are considered life-or-death. Urgent emergencies must have a travel date within 14 days of the appointment for the passport renewal. 

Follow all instructions on the Department of State website. You’ll also see the most updated fee schedule there.

What’s Next?

Just as you shouldn’t wait to renew your passport, you also need to file for your H-1B visa and any changes timely. When it comes to government documents, deadlines aren’t suggestions. They’re vital, and Visa2US helps ensure you meet all necessary filing windows.

Contact our friendly legal professionals today to see how we can assist you with your H-1B visa questions. Our experts are available 24/7, and we stay up-to-date on the latest changes in immigration law.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.