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Rush is on to get passports in time for holiday travel; travelers recommended to apply, renew now

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Planning to travel overseas for the holidays? Time is running out for those who need to apply for a passport or need to renew one.

If you’re planning to travel overseas, make sure that your passport is in order right now.

We’ve withheld the last name of our family you’re about to meet for security reasons.

Darshana has fond memories of her last visit to India.

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It’s been five years since her family visited.

Unfortunately, some she had hoped to see are no longer with us.

“There’s been a lot of COVID deaths that have happened,” Darshana said.

The family is planning a trip to India for an upcoming wedding and to catch up with relatives.

“There’s a lot of senior citizens that are, you know, late 80s, early 90s. So super important, especially for the kids, to be able to connect,” she said.

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Prisha is just 16 years old. Her past trip to India happened at a much younger age and is now a distant memory.

She’s looking forward to creating new ones.

“I was really excited, because we haven’t been there for a real long time. For me to be able to see my cousins and all my family again would definitely be a great experience,” Prisha said.

Her passport unfortunately expired, so her parents had to go to the passport office to get her a new one.

It can take weeks to get an appointment, especially during the summer. Plus, processing time can take another 10 weeks.

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But when 10 weeks became 13, the family became concerned.

“Now I’m like freaking out because we need visas in place. We need to book our tickets in place,” Darshana said.

Pamela Hack of the San Francisco Passport Agency says children are the most likely to see delays in getting their passports.

“They need to be renewed and have either both parents present or at least one parent present and the other parent present has to have a signed notarized release,” she said.

If you’re planning to travel internationally on Thanksgiving, you’re advised to pay an extra $60 to get an expedited passport.

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You can get one day shipping of your passport once it is issued for an additional $18.32.

Those traveling for Christmas should apply immediately but shouldn’t have to expedite it.

“I’m happy to say we do have availability for appointments. It’s much better than May and June especially,” Hack said.

Those appointments are available at the post office and some non-governmental facilities.

Appointments are only available at the Passport Agency if you’re less than two weeks from your travel date.

Most people should be able to renew by mail.

Prisha received her passport after her mother contacted 7 On Your Side, and we contacted the Passport Agency.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

7OYS’s consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

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