Why You Should Renew Your Passport Now

Photograph by Winnie Au
An American passport is a powerful thing — don't let yours lapse in the back of a desk drawer. As nearly 49 million passports approach expiration during the next three years, government officials are urging Americans to get ahead of the oncoming flood of requests and renew their passports now, reports CNN.

Why the sudden bottleneck? In 2007, a new law went into effect requiring United States citizens to use a passport when traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda; nearly 18 million Americans responded by securing new passports within the year. Cut to a decade later — as passports are only valid for 10 years — the onslaught of renewal requests are coming and now is the time to get ahead of the crush.

Renewing a passport
is simple, assuming you don't push the timing (and aren't waiting around for Mario Testino to take your passport photo). The State Department began stressing the importance of early passport renewal back in September during Passport Awareness Month, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services Brenda Sprague warned CNN that currently, the process could take up to six weeks or longer because of volume.

When calculating your timing, remember, many European countries won't accept passports within six months of their expiration date. And don't dally! Because, oh the places you should go this year.
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