Passport backlog surges to nearly 2.2M

The passport application backlog has surged to about 2.2 million as a security procedure’s “operational issues” add several weeks to wait times, according to Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

A State Department official tells Fox there are currently approximately 2,170,000 passport applications pending adjudication. When the government receives a passport application, the file enters a “lockbox” and is given a secure number – a process that usually takes 24 hours and is now delaying applications up to six weeks, said Lankford in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The government contracts Citibank to run this procedure which the Treasury Department oversees. “The operational delays in this key initial phase of the process are exacerbating the problems in other stages down the line,” wrote Lankford. “We must address the problems at this stage by applying pressure and providing resources to Citibank to restore the turnaround time to 24 hours.”