According to officials at the US State Department, 2016 and 2017 will be extremely busy for the Passport Office. The number of passport renewals is expected to exceed 2015's numbers by more than 1.5 million requests. Why such a drastic increase you wonder? The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is much of the reason for the increased demand. This Department of Homeland Security initiative, enacted in January 2007 began requiring that US travelers to Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and Bermuda, obtain and show a valid passport to gain entry to these countries. This influx of new passports issued in 2006 and 2007 will be approaching expiration after the standard 10 year passport term in the coming year.
What does this mean for you? Due to an increased demand in passport processing, delays in processing times is almost inevitable and could delay your travel plans. The estimated time it takes to process passport requirements is currently six weeks but this may increase over the next years with more demand. State Department officials also advise citizens to renew soon as many foreign countries are now sanctioning visitors have at least six months’ validity on their passports.
If you have travel plans approaching in 2016, first check out the expiration date in your passport. If your passport expires this year, we highly suggest that you start the process immediately so as to avoid any possible delays or disruptions. Unsure of how to renew or apply for a new passport? Check out our step-by-step guidelines based on your specific circumstances or contact us at (202) 393-3030.
Are you pressed for time and need your passport sooner? Don't worry, we can help, just contact us to initiate the process, we will walk you through the process.
Want to know if using a passport service is right for you? Read our blog post detailing the processes involved in applying for a new passport, replacing a lost passport, changing your name or obtaining a duplicate passport to see if a third party service is right for you.