5 Reasons to Acquire or Renew Your Passport Sooner Than Later in 2016

Planning a Summer Trip? Don’t wait! Get Your Passport Now

The first step to planning your international summer vacation is ensuring your passport is current and in good physical condition. If you don’t yet have a passport, spring would be a great time to get your vital documents in order and begin the passport application process. The U.S. Passport renewal process can be achieved one of two ways. If you have in your possession your current undamaged passport, it was issued while you were 16 years or older, it was issued within the last 15 years, and your legal name is the same, or you are able to include the original or certified copy of your legal name changing document, then you are able to submit your renewal application via mail. If you cannot meet all these requirements, you must apply in person. For easy access, the US department of travel allows you to download all passport application forms online. The renewal process is less involved and a bit less complicated than needing to reapply completely. So if you have the opportunity to renew, you should consider this your best option.

5 Reasons Why You Should Renew or Acquire Your Passport Sooner Than Later:

  1. Millions of passports are set to renew in 2016. When the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was set in action roughly 10 years ago, the regulation required U.S. Citizens have a passport to travel to all countries. The millions of then required passports are due to start expiring. To avoid lengthy processing times for renewals, the government is encouraging people to begin their renewal ASAP.
  2. New passport rules for 2016 will start putting into action Real ID requirements. Real ID regulations should make a fairly sizeable contribution to the rise in passport application numbers. While airports are still currently allowing non-compliant state ID’s be used as identification at airports and federal offices, by 2018 any state not in compliance will require its citizens to hold a US passport for international and Domestic Travel.
  3. Another reason to renew or acquire your passport sooner than later is the application processing fees associated. To ensure you have your passport in time for travel, you’ll need to give yourself about 6 weeks and $110. If you end up waiting until the last minute you’ll only have to wait 3 weeks, but be prepared to add an additional $60 in fees. Giving yourself ample time to process your passport application will help your trip planning adventure remain stress free.
  4. Officials have announced they expect more than 17 million newly issued passports and renewals in 2016. That number is up about 1.5 million applications from 2015. While the State Department states they’ve hired more employees to handle the surge in applications, the anticipation of so many processing applications may or may not go smoothly.
  5. If your passport is set to expire in the next 3 to 6 months, it may deemed unfit for international travel. Some destinations require that Americans traveling to their country have passports that are valid for at least 3 months after their departure date. If your passport may be nearing expiration around the time of your trip, consider that as a reason to renew.

If you overlooked certain rules or regulations like your passport expiration or how soon your trip is approaching, you may find yourself in need of an expedited passport renewal application. The best way to get your passport in a hurry is going to be through the same channels you’d submit your application normally. You can apply for expedited service through the mail, or in person. If this is your first passport, or your passport is expired or lost/stolen, you must apply for your expedited passport in person. Remember, regardless of whether you need a passport renewed, or you’re applying for a brand new one, you’ll need a copy of your certified birth certificate to submit with your application.

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