North suburban woman could miss trip of a lifetime due to passport delays

Karen Jordan Image
Thursday, July 20, 2023
Suburban woman could miss trip of a lifetime due to passport delays
A Winnetka woman may now miss out on a trip of a lifetime due to U.S. passport renewal delays.

WINNETKA, Ill. (WLS) -- A north suburban woman has been waiting for months to get her renewed passport, and now may miss out on a trip of a lifetime.

The U.S. State Department said travel overseas has soared post-pandemic, and it can take at least three months to process passport applications.

Linda Maclachlan and her 15-year-old twin daughters are members of the choir at Christ Church in Winnetka, which has been invited to sing at Canterbury Cathedral in England in August, a rare and special honor.

"I have been looking forward to this for years to be able to do this, and do this with my daughters," she said.

But now she fears she can't go because she doesn't have her passport. She and her daughters applied for renewals in March, and while her daughters received her passports within weeks, Linda did not.

"It turned out that they processed my passport but they had an address that's incorrect," she said.

Now she's stuck in limbo, which has only been made worse by tremendous passport delays. The wait time for applications to process is up to 13 weeks, and the State Department is processing as many as 400,000 applications every week.

"We will issue more passports this year than in any previous year," said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Monday. "But that's just a reflection of the fact that demand is higher than it's ever been. And we're throwing everything we can at this to try to make sure that people have those blue books."

But the outlook is still grim, with wait times not expected to go down until later this year. In the meantime, Linda's trip to England is in two weeks and she's praying for a last-minute miracle.

"I can't imagine being at home with my relatives while my kids and husband get on that plane to Canterbury," she said.

Maclachlan has also reached out to her congressman, Rep. Brad Schneider, for help. She filled out some forms but has not gotten an update.