MADISON COUNTY, ALABAMA, Ala. — Applications for passports at the Madison County Probate Department have doubled since 2020.
According to Madison County Probate Judge, Frank Barger, the office received around 1,100 applications for passports during the pandemic. Now, the office expects to receive at least 2,500 applications at the end of the calendar year.
"We have jumped the hurdle of COVID and that's the reason why we have seen an increase in applications for passports," said Barger.
With more people applying or renewing their passports, the wait time is longer, which can conflict with travel plans.
He said that in Madison County, it can take up to 12 weeks to receive a passport and up to 8 weeks if you choose to expedite the process.
"If you have travel plans later this summer or anytime this year you need to go ahead and if your passport is expired, make sure that you have that in place," said Barger.
Barger said that even if your passport is close to expiration some countries may not allow you to enter.
Barger also mentioned that there is a fee for the passport application process through the Madison County Probate Office, but all profit goes towards mental health awareness organizations.
"The funds are used for the Probate Court’s Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Program. AOT is a 150-day program with intense case management overseen by the Court. The program supports those with mental illness by ensuring they maintain relationships with their mental healthcare provider and are connected to critical support services - all with a focus on ensuring each individual’s mental health is maintained in the most positive place." said Barger
For more information, visit the department's website.