If you'll need a passport, apply now

As pandemic precautions lift, international travel plans are bound to become more common for faculty, staff and students. Anyone who has "securing a valid passport" on their travel to-do list should apply now.

The current processing time for new passport and renewal applications is much longer than usual, said Frank Peters, director of the Study Abroad Center. Regular applications are running about 18 weeks and expedited applications are taking 12 weeks, according to the U.S. Department of State.

"Nobody needed one for a year, so there is a backlog," Peters said.

A small number of ISU students will be studying abroad this fall, including 45 in the College of Design's Rome program and another 20 in various programs, Peters said. He's hopeful that many more programs will be available during the spring semester. In a recent email to students, he urged those considering spring semester or spring break programs to apply for a passport by July 10 and to choose the expedited processing option.

Passports must be valid for six months after the anticipated end of travel, Peters said. Getting a passport early is especially important for trips that require a visa, as the processing times for visas are longer than usual, as well.

To apply for a first-time passport or to replace or renew a passport that was lost, stolen, damaged, issued to someone under age 16 or issued more than 15 years ago, go to a passport acceptance facility, such as the Ames Post Office. Application requirements and fees are listed online. Adults renewing a passport issued within the past 15 years can renew by mail.

Reminder to register

Under a policy established at the start of 2020, all ISU-sponsored international travel must be registered with the risk management office. The requirement ensures travelers are insured and connects them with useful resources. The policy also defines what qualifies as university-sponsored travel.

Because of the pandemic, travel to most international destinations remains high-risk, which requires an itinerary review by risk management. Email intlrisk@iastate.edu or call 294-6916 to arrange a review. When registering an international trip, faculty, staff and students must agree to follow all health and safety regulations of any country they are visiting.