Planning on going abroad this year? Stop reading (after this sentence) and check your passport’s expiration date. In the next three years, CNN reports, 49 million passports are going to expire. U.S. government officials have been warning that there will be a flood of requests from now through 2018, possibly leading to delays. So get ahead of the crowd while you still can.
What Is Going On?
In 2007, a law went into effect that requires U.S. citizens to use a passport when traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Passport requests skyrocketed—18 million were issued in that year alone. And because they’re only good for a decade, all of those passports are up for renewal right now.
But that’s not the only reason to get a jumpstart on your renewal process. Many European countries won’t accept travelers visiting within six months of their passport’s expiration date—so your decade-long passport really only lasts nine years now. And stateside, the REAL ID Act goes into place on January 22, 2018, which requires more stringent ID checks for domestic flights. Carrying your passport could easily satisfy these new requirements.
How Do I Renew?
Renewing your passport is relatively painless, although you still can’t do it online (except by paying a lot of money to an expediter…