New Passport Rules Extend Wait Time

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If you're planning to travel out of the country, you better apply for a passport now.
Since new regulations went into effect in January, the huge amount of applications have caused major backlogs.

"I'm going to Mexico in July," Traveler Kathy Landrum said.

Before January 1st Landrum did not need a passport, but new rules mean all people who travel by air must show a passport to leave or enter the country, even those traveling to Mexico or Canada.

"I'm expediting it so I should have plenty of time," Landrum said.

But experts say there are no guarantees. Passport demand has caused a backlog.

"We have people that know that they're going to be traveling and so they're trying to get their passports done and then we have the group of people that say maybe I'll be traveling and so they're coming in."

Bryan's main post office now accepts 50 to 60 passport applications a day.

Businesses, like Walgreens, that snap passport photos have also seen heavy traffic.

"Since January when the new laws went into effect we started seeing a surge and it's been steady ever since," Chad Eckermann, a manager at Walgreens said.

Travelers are trying to get in early to beat the rush, but experts say there is no slow-down in sight.

"The numbers have gone up dramatically we were averaging 6 to 8 passports a day, now we're averaging anywhere from 20 to 25 passports a day," Brazos County District Clerk Marc Hamlin said.

The Brazos County District Clerk's isn't the only office that's been busy since January.

"We're still on a peak of seeing increases, not only of people coming in, but we're seeing an increase in wait time from the federal government."

The average wait time used to be four weeks, now it's 10.
To expedite the process, expect to pay about $60 extra.
That shaves off about five weeks, but again no guarantee.