The Department has restored passport service to the standard six to eight week processing time for routine passport applications, and no more than three weeks for expedited service.
To date, we have issued over 16 million passports in fiscal year 2007, which ends on September 30, compared to 12.1 million issued in fiscal year 2006. Throughout the summer, dedicated Department staff in Washington and at the nation's 18 passport agencies have worked tirelessly to eliminate the delays in processing that had developed earlier in the year.
The Department plans to expand passport facilities and continue to hire more passport specialists in order to increase production capacity and meet rising passport demand expected in coming years, as passport requirements are extended to land and sea borders. By January 2008, we will have hired hundreds of new employees, and production capacity at the National Passport Center in New Hampshire, the largest passport facility, will have doubled. Longer-term expansion plans include new passport facilities strategically located to enhance customer service around the country.