How Long Does It Take To Get A Passport (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 30 to 45 days

A passport is the most important document to have when one wants to travel out of the country.  It also doubles as a genuine official document, enabling one to avail various government and private services.  Furthermore, it acts as an address and identity proof.

The time taken to receive a passport differs for different countries.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Passport?

In India, any citizen may apply for a regular passport. This passport is one issued to ordinary citizens for leisure, study or business-related trips. As per Government regulations, one will receive it within 30 to 45 days from the date of application.

The Ministry of External Affairs has also made a provision for individuals to receive their passports quickly. This scheme is called the Tatkaal scheme. Individuals needing to travel abroad urgently can apply through this scheme and receive it within 1 to 3 days.

An individual may also apply for a Short Validity Passport, given for a short-term arrangement. An in a Tatkaal passport, one can obtain a Short Validity Passport in 1 to 3 days.

In the United States, one can receive a passport 18 weeks after applying for it. The period includes up to 12 weeks for processing and 5 to 6 weeks for mailing it to the individual. In the case of an expedited application, one may receive the passport in 12 weeks, including six weeks processing time and six weeks for mailing.

However, if one needs to travel within 72 hours or three business days, they may apply for “Expedited at Agency” for quick processing.

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On the other hand, in the United Kingdom, one needs to wait only 5 to 6 weeks to receive a passport. This period is inclusive of the processing time and applies to both children and adults.

In Canada, the processing time of a passport varies according to how one has applied for it. If one does so in person at a passport office, the processing time is ten working days. However, if one applies at a Service Canada receiving agent or by mail, the processing time is 20 days. One must account for the time it would take for the mail to be delivered.

In contrast, one can receive a passport in three weeks no matter where they apply in Australia.

In summary,

CountryTime Taken
India30 to 45 days
United States of America18 weeks
United Kingdom5 to 6 weeks
Canada10 days
Australia3 weeks

Why Does It Take So Long To Get A Passport?

People have to wait for weeks to get a passport for three reasons.

Firstly, there are hundreds of people applying for a passport at any given time. According to statistical data, Around 12 million people in India, 11.7 million people in the US, 7 million people in the UK, 5 million people in Canada, and 3 million people in Australia apply for a passport in a year.

Processing so many applications, including completing the verification processes, can be time-consuming.

Secondly, inexperienced individuals tend to make mistakes in the application. These mistakes will cause a delay at the processing stage. Hence, one must always fill the passport application form carefully.

Lastly, the verification process is quite long and tedious. The police station undertakes these verification processes. An officer vets the details submitted in the application, such as the name, age, and address.

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Furthermore, neighbors, friends or colleagues, must also confirm the individual’s identity if asked by the applicant.

The passport office will dispatch the passport only after this verification is complete.

Conclusion

Not only is a passport essential for travel to foreign destinations, but it also acts as an identification document when applying for different services. Its importance in daily life is why many people apply for a passport.

However, although it is necessary, getting a passport can be quite time-consuming. One has to wait anywhere from 10 days to 18 weeks to receive it.

Additionally, one can make errors in the application, further causing delays. Hence, one has to ensure not to make errors to receive their passport as soon as possible.

References

  1. https://heinonline.org/hol-cgi-bin/get_pdf.cgi?handle=hein.journals/stflr19&section=16
  2. https://www.usenix.org/event/nsdi08/tech/full_papers/liu_xin/liu_xin_html/