Passport and visa issues continue for international travelers

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TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — International borders are beginning to reopen, but getting to the final destination is proving difficult for some travelers.

Greg DeJulio at the Rensselaer County Clerk’s Office said prepare for a long wait if you plan on getting your passport. 

“If you plan on going for January, I’d come in right now and make sure that you have it,” DeJulio said. 

About 30 people a week are applying to renew or get their passport for the first time at the clerk’s office. This is added to the reported backlog of 1.5 million requests nationwide. 

“I don’t think the feds are fully open in Buffalo, and they do a great job, but they’re getting a deluge by a bunch of passport applications,” DeJulio said. 

People recently made a last-ditch effort taking a trip to Vermont for its no-appointment walk-in service. They were turned away after the U.S. Passport Agency ended the service due to overwhelming demand. 

“It’s just a really long waiting game and they’re giving us no hope,” said one hopeful passport applicant. 

While there are passport processing issues stateside, there are also issues for international travelers getting a visa. 

SUNY Albany Dean of International Education said the Department of State is prioritizing international students in the visa process. He’s cautiously optimistic international students will be able to come to the states in time for the start of the school year. 

DeJulio also cautions to make sure everything in the application is done right the first time so applicants don’t have to start the whole process again. 

“My big message is get your passport immediately. Don’t say, ‘oh, i got six months. Oh, i got eight months.’ So, get it right away,” DeJulio said. 

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