After a hiatus that lasted several months, the United States Department of State is beginning to normalize its operations, which means that Americans can once again submit applications for passports. As can be expected, the main issuing agency will have to deal with a massive influx of applications for new passports as well as renewals, which means that backlogs will be inevitable; however, applicants who pay for their passport fees with Bitcoin may be able to get expedited processing.

Let's say you want to travel abroad for the holidays; if you opt for regular processing of a new passport, you would be cutting it too close for comfort because normal waiting times can take longer than six weeks. There are 26 passport processing centers across the United States, and they usually struggle to keep up with demand. Private passport expediting firms work with these agencies to streamline the application process and reduce waiting times to about four weeks.

Peninsula Visa, a passport expediting firm located in Central California, recently announced a partnership with Coinbase Commerce for the purpose of accepting Bitcoin payments. It should be noted that the Department of State does not accept any cryptocurrency for payments of passport application or renewal fees; Peninsula Visa is one of the few facilitating companies that have enabled Bitcoin transactions.

Travel agencies that accept digital currency payments have been around for a couple of years, but this is the first time we hear about the ability to use Bitcoin in order to pay for official travel documents. The U.S. is still a long way from developing a digital version of the dollar, so it is certainly convenient to have options such as the one offered by Peninsula visa.

Even with this exciting announcement, Americans are advised to exercise patience after they submit their passport applications. In late September, the Department of State estimated that the backlog of applications for new passports was about a million. Some U.S. citizens living overseas have found themselves stranded while trying to return home during the coronavirus pandemic because they could not renew expired passports or replace stolen ones.