Applying for, or renewing, a passport in the United States has not been a very “next-gen” experience. In fact, it’s about as antiquated as it gets. You quite literally need to print a form, mail a form, and even sometimes write out a physical check.
For any young readers, that’s a thing people once used to exchange money, before crypto and Venmo.
In an appealing new announcement from US President, Joe Biden, many government services are getting a much needed tech overhaul, which will soon allow people to apply for passports online, and even claims to be ready to speed up US TSA security.
New Government Investment In Travel Services
The White House has come out with a rather impressive list of improvements which are on the way to a variety of sectors, from filing taxes to travel. No one likes taxes, so we’ll focus on travel.
Namely, the US Government will finally digitize services which currently require too much paper, ink and time. People will be able to renew passports online in a seamless process.
“Americans will be able to renew their passports securely online, saving time from having to wait and the effort and cost required to print, go to a post office, and use a paper check. This new online process will be done with safety and security.”White House
This is a tremendous improvement to current barriers and should also greatly speed up processing times, which during the pandemic reached new heights, or lows, depending how you wish to quantify them.
The second big thing, as teased, is a promise to speed up airport security. This is a very big tease indeed, but the White House claims its on the way. Here’s exactly what the President claims the circa 2 million per day that travel can expect, going forward…
“Passengers will have shorter security and check-in lines at airports due to increased use of technologies, like new security machines and computers with advanced screening features that streamline these processes”White House
Color me a bit of a skeptic on this one, but I’d sure love to be wrong! TSA checkpoints have seen many improvements in recent years thanks to CLEAR and other programs, but most of these have been private partnerships, rather than things everyone can enjoy.
If new machines and more advanced screening capabilities mean more people can leave more things in their bags, or not have to remove their shoes, maybe there really will be improvements to be seen.
Exciting Times Ahead For US Travel?
Either way, the air travel experience in the USA and international travel with an American passport should see significant improvements in the months and years to come, if these White House directives are carried through.
My passport renews in 2028, so even by government delivery standards, I’m hoping i’ll be able to renew online by then!
I renewed my Irish Passport online and it was so easy I couldn’t believe it. But now I need to get my American Passport renewed and it’s a nightmare. I recently retired and moved to Portugal for a while to enjoy a new and warmer lifestyle. I can’t figure out the instructions given on the American Embassy’s website, they’re very confusing. And I don’t know if I’ll be staying at the same address in eight or ten weeks time. So I tried to schedule an appointment in person and was told I cannot. Their best advice was that it is possible to re-enter the US on an expired Passport. I hope they change the current system soon.
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