Is your passport expiring soon (as in, within the next two or three years)? If you, you may want to consider renewing it now instead of waiting until the last minute. But why?
Back in 2007, a law was passed that requires all U.S. citizens to use a passport when traveling to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. And, since passports are only valid for 10 years before they need renewing, all of the passports issued in 2007 (there were at least 18 million issued just that year) will expire next year. Because of this, government officials have issued a warning saying there will be a flood of passport renewals through 2018.
A typical passport renewal takes about six weeks, however with an influx of renewal requests, it could end up taking much longer. Even if you don’t have any trips planned in the upcoming year or two, it’s still a good idea to go ahead and renew your passport, just in case. (For example, if you decide you want to go to Europe, many countries don’t accept passports within 6 months of their expiration date. If you wait to renew it, you could be out of luck.)
The good news is you can renew your passport by mail for a cost of $110. If it’s your first time getting a passport, it’ll cost you a little more ($135) and you’ll have to do it in person at a designated post office. Kids’ passports are only good for five years and need to be renewed or applied for in person with the consent of all legal guardians.
The State Department is expecting about 17.4 million passport applications in 2016, 20.9 million in 2017, and 20.5 million in 2018. With that being said, you may want to take care of your passport as soon as possible.