Nile Khow was in a rush to renew his US passport ahead of a trip overseas, but the passport office in his hometown of Houston was severely backlogged.
So the 20-year-old flew across the country to New York, where his father had managed to book an appointment at a local passport agency
“I don’t know how he did it,” the young man said one recent morning in Manhattan, after he submitted his documents in time to catch a flight to London the same evening.
With passport facilities across the United States overloaded due to a post-pandemic tourism rush and a faltering new software system, Americans are facing long wait times, busy queues and travel delays.
David Alwadish, cofounder of passport expediting service ItsEasy, says he hasn’t seen such a crunch in more than 40 years in the business.
“It’s an ugly perfect storm,” Alwadish told AFP. “It feels like if all of the United States had decided they are going to renew their passports and go someplace.”