Summer travelers: Why you should check your passport now
Passport Renewals May Take Longer Than Usual This Year
If you're planning to renew your U.S. passport this year or in early 2019, you might want to do so immediately.
Routine passport processing can take up to six weeks, but the State Department has been warning travelers, for a year now, about the possibility of longer wait times. The increase in demand is due to a surfeit of new passports that were issued in 2007 following the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which made it necessary for U.S. citizens returning from Canada and Mexico to show a passport. Ten years later, all of those passports are expiring.
There's also an increase in first-time passport applications thanks to the Real ID Act, which requires residents of certain states to show an alternative form of identification, such as a passport, for air travel; it goes into effect on January 22, 2019.
The State Department recommends renewing your passport within nine months of its expiration date, according toUSA Today. What's more, there are at least 50 countries — including the Bahamas, Jamaica, Mexico, and Thailand — that require U.S. citizens to have six months or more left on their passport to travel there.
Video: Everything you need to know about REAL ID
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