Passport Expiring? Better Get it Renewed, Fast!

Procrastinators, beware! The State Department wants you to check your passport expiration and submit it now to avoid the expected flood of renewals of the 10-year document. They’re anticipating a surge in demand because 2006 was the first year the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect, requiring Americans flying to and from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean to produce a passport for re-entry into the country.
A biometric US passport
There has also been an increase in renewal activity due to the implementation of the Real ID Act, which creates a more stringent set of standards for travelers using driver’s licenses and other identity cards to board a plane.
To clarify, the Department of Homeland Security has set a January 22, 2018 deadline for states to comply with the changes instituted by the Real ID Act. A passport will serve as a viable alternative to either forms of identification for those traveling after the deadline from non-compliant states.
Another reason to renew early, according to State Department officials, is that many countries are now inspecting the documents for at least six months of validity before admitting visitors. You don’t want to be one of those people who has to make a call to the Department to get special dispensation.
The estimated number of new passports issued is forecast to be nearly 17 million, up about 1.5 million from last year. If you’ve never applied for a passport, you’ll need to submit your application in-person at a local post office, court, or other agency. Appointments can be scheduled, and the fee is $135. In most cases, if you’re renewing you can submit yours by mail, and the cost is $110.