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US ‘surging’ staffing to cope with backlog of up to two million passport applications

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The US State Department is “surging” staffing levels to address a backlog of as many as 2 million passport applications due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has Americans waiting between 12 and 18 weeks for new passports, an official said on Wednesday.

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Rachel Arndt, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services in the department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, told reporters that the availability of vaccinations in the United States had led to many more Americans than usual applying for passports to travel overseas.

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