Changing travel directives, passport backlog causing problems for travelers

COLUMBUS, Georgia (WRBL) – Despite the Delta variant and the increase in COVID cases across the country, people continue to book vacations until fall.

Testing requirements, stay-at-home orders and quarantine protocols continue to change as the number of cases fluctuates around the world.

Guidelines in place on the day you book your trip may be different from when you go on vacation. Over time, destinations like the Bahamas, Greece, Italy and the UK are turning to COVID passports to open up and allow people to travel.

“It’s a health passport, and they require you to sign up and register with information about COVID and where your vaccination was and get QR codes,” said Donna Anderson, owner of the agency. Columbus-based Travels by Donna Travel Agency. “You must download them before you go and if you haven’t downloaded them they will deny you boarding the flight.”

The US State Department is also facing a pandemic-related backlog of around 2 million passport applications. The influx of applications and long processing times mean that passport processing is currently expected to take up to 18 weeks. This has created a barrier for people planning international trips.

Anderson says some of his clients have had to cancel their trips due to the backlog.

“One of the band members got theirs but the other didn’t, so they were still on the fence with that,” Anderson said. “When I called to make this change, an agent – and there are hundreds of agents they have at the tour operator – she said I was the fourth that day to have canceled and changed to because of the passports. “

This means that applications submitted are unlikely to be processed until the fall. People looking to get a passport now or renew their passport may need to register their international travel plans for 2022.

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