Passport backlog puts Bridgeport couple’s honeymoon in jeopardy
Americans are itching to travel abroad, but finding a roadblock due to a massive passport backlog.
Stephanie Yanez and her husband-to-be Darryl Shine are getting married on July 25. The Bridgeport couple is then slated to take their honeymoon to Jamaica two days later.
Yanez told News 12 that they applied to renew their passports in April, when the wait time was expected to be 8-10 weeks. But while Yanez has received hers, Shine is still waiting after three months.
The State Department says there's a backlog of about 2 million passports, with wait times stretched to 18 weeks. With countries now opening, there's a surge of Americans wanting to travel. But the Bureau of Consular Affairs isn't back to full staffing.
Even if passport seekers pay an extra fee for expedited service, they still must wait 12 weeks.
“At the very time that we see demand higher than we've ever seen it, the ability to process those has been compromised,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-District 4). “We’re working really hard. I joined 50 of my colleagues here to write to the State Department and say this is not acceptable.”
Rep. Himes says he's heard from many constituents, including Yanez, about what he calls a "serious problem.” He urged patience.
“People need to remember – passports are about national security. It's not just filling out a form and taking a picture.”
Yanez is hoping for the best as her wedding approaches this weekend.
“We have no honeymoon if we don't have a passport, and it's sad,” she said.