How long does it take for a U.S. passport to arrive?

On July 8, I applied for my passport (finally!) at my local post office. The clerk there said it would arrive by Priority Mail within 21 days, but then added, “They only tell us to say that. It usually doesn’t take that long.”

Well, it’s obviously been more than 21 days now (though not by much) and still no passport in my mailbox. So, American Dopers, in your past experience, how long did it take to receive the passport after completing the application process?

i sent away for mine at the beginning of this year, for a trip to bolivia. it took about 6 weeks(MS time) to get here.

I applied for mine in early May and it took about 6 weeks to arrive. I was told there is an additional fee that you can pay for faster processing but it sounds like it is too late in your case.

I paid for the rush processing and got mine in two weeks, last November here in LA.

Things must have slowed down. I applied for a passport back in 1992 and got it in 5 days.

My first passport, applied for in 1988, arrived in a week. My second one, three years ago, took about 3 weeks.

A lot depends on the time of year. Right now is peak summer travel season, so probably all the people who either didn’t know how long it takes and applied at the last minute, or forgot they needed to renew theirs and are doing it at the last minute, are applying right now. The system may be a bit choked up.

If you’re in a rush, I believe you can expedite your application after the fact - for a fee, of course.

Oh, I’m in no rush, just curious. At 25 years old, I feel like I’m the last person I know who hasn’t traveled abroad, and it was starting to wear on me, so I wanted to make sure I was at least legally capable of doing so when the opportunity arrived.

The plan is to visit the UK and Ireland sometime in 2005. I figure I’ll start slow and go with an English-speaking country, even though Rome and Prague are the cities I want to see more than any others.