Anyone thinking of travelling internationally next year needs to plan ahead. Due to backlogs, applications for new or renewed U.S. passports should be filed at least six months in advance. The Department of State (DOS) reports that regular processing takes up to 18 weeks and expedited processing takes at least 12 weeks. DOS is only prioritizing life and death emergencies.

Because of these delays, some individuals are being fooled by scammers who promise passports at “lightning speed.” The Better Business Bureau advises that applicants should be wary of phony websites, unsolicited emails and calls, and unusual forms of payment.

DOS has also been affected by technological issues. It has temporarily suspended its online passport booking system for urgent/emergency passports because of bots. Third parties have been using automated programs (bots) to scoop up all available appointments and then sell them to needy travelers.  During the temporary suspension, applicants will have to use a telephone to book an appointment. This suspension only affects the 26 passport agencies and centers that accept urgent requests. It does not affect bookings at passport acceptance facilities such as post offices, libraries, and certain government offices.

Members of Congress in both parties are looking for answers from DOS about how it is addressing the backlogs and long wait times.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.