Have you looked at the expiration date of your passport lately? Most countries require that your passport is valid a full six months after your return. I had a client that couldn’t get into Canada for a business meeting, because she forgot this important fact.
There are a huge number of people who applied for passports in 2007, when Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean all started requiring them. Now it’s ten years later, and they’re all about to expire. The State Department is expecting a sizable backlog of people renewing their passports, so if yours is anywhere near expiration you should renew it today. Right now it’s taking about six weeks to renew, and the wait will only get longer!
If you need it right away there are services that will expedite it for you. This can cost up to between $200 and $400. Don’t get caught out – go check your passport now!
New passports being issued have gone through some changes. There is now a chip in every passport for security purposes and to help decrease fraud. Also, new passports have 28 pages, and only 17 of those can be used for visas and entry/exit stamps. You can opt to get a bigger passport of 56 pages at no extra charge. You used to be able to get pages added when your passport filled up. Now they don’t allow it, so even if you’re not sure how much you’ll be traveling in the next 10 years, I think it’s a good idea to get the bigger one.
Here is a link to the DS-82 passport renewal form:
Keep in mind that your old passport must have be issued within the last 15 years, issued when you were at least 16 years old, and issued in the same name you’re using now.
The easiest way to renew your passport is through your local post office. If you don’t want to download the form they have all the paperwork and can even take your passport picture! You can call to make an appointment or just walk in.
You’ll have to mail in your old passport with the application, your photo (size 2×2, in color, no glasses, white background, looking straight at camera), the DS-82 form, and a check made out to “US Department of State” for $110.00.
When you are ready to mail everything in make sure to use a traceable method! You want to make sure doesn’t get lost. The best way to send your renewal packet is by USPS priority mail with either signature or delivery confirmation.
Once that’s done, you sit back, relax and start planning your next adventure!