Passport Boom: Is Your Passport One of Millions Expiring?

Written by on February 23, 2017 in Travel Tips

There was something of a “passport boom” that started in 2007 — which means a whole lot of passports are about to expire in the next few years. If yours needs renewing – or if you need to apply for one – don’t wait until it’s too late!

United States Passport, RFID protection sleeve, and USA passport opened to "We the People" page.

The Passport Boom

Back in the good old days of 2006 and earlier, United States citizens needed only a driver’s license to travel between Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

But then came  2007’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which required a bit more – namely, a passport.

People who never held a passport prior to the WHTI’s implementation suddenly needed one for spring break trips to Cabo, trips across the border to Toronto or a romantic weekend in the Caribbean.

Travelers applied en masse.

So what’s the big deal? you may ask.

Well, because passports are valid for ten years, boatloads of them (literally, I suppose, because passports are required on cruise ships) from circa 2007 are expiring — and need renewing.

CNN Money’s Ahiza Garza points out, a number of European countries won’t accept passports within six months of their expiration dates. For example, if your passport expires in early August but your trip to France is slated for June, you won’t be enjoying a Bordeaux in Bordeaux — unless you renew your passport rapidement. (Here is a list of those European countries — also known as the “Schengen Area Countries”)

Bottom line: Almost 50 million passports expire during the next few years. Passport renewal processing times could become significantly delayed.

 

Renew your passport before time runs out!

Renew your passport before time runs out! (Photo ©iStock.com/clearstockconcepts)

 

How Long Will it Take to Process Passport Renewals?

The United States State Department — which issues US passports — anticipated the crush of renewals and in 2015 urged travelers during Passport Awareness Month (also known as “September”) to get a jump on it.

The normal four-to-six week processing time could be a pipe dream.

Even if you don’t have a trip planned and your passport expires sometime in the next three years, it’s best to renew now. “Exciting travel” and “adventure” should be about discovering new places and experiences — not hoping that your passport arrives on time.

Where Can I Get a Passport?

Check out the State Department’s “Where to Apply” page. It has details on how to apply for a passport during matters of life or death, non-emergency but expedited renewals, and general applications.

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About the Author

About the Author: Chris Carley is a writer, media consultant, voice over artist, dog owner, husband, and recently became a dad! He loves talking all things points and miles. You'll likely find him in an airport lounge while on a trip that involves the most circuitous route possible leading to his ultimate destination. .

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