If renewing your passport is something you’ve been putting off, you should totally get it done before 2016 is over. Why? Because a massive amount of Americans will be applying to renew their passports in the next few years and it’s expected to create serious delays in the process and add even more weeks to the wait time.

It all goes back to 2007, when the government instituted the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which required Americans traveling to Canada or Mexico to have passport or passport card (before you just needed a driver’s license to legally cross the US borders), and sparked what the state department described as an “unprecedented surge in passport applications.” And since passports expire after 10 years, a corresponding wave of renewal applications is expected. On top of THAT, many believe that another government mandate, the Real ID Act, will be the catalyst for a ton of first-time passport applicants.

Thanks to all this craziness, the State Department is expecting millions of Americans to apply for passports than previous years — meaning it’s going to take them a little longer than usual to process all of them. So if you want your passport to be up-to-date for 2017, you’ll do well to plan ahead. Send in that passport now to get ahead of the crowd!

And why is having a valid passport so important?

It’s an Investment that Lasts a Long Time

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An adult passport costs $135 — a number that makes a lot of applicants think twice about taking the plunge. But once it’s renewed, your passport will be valid for a whole decade. That works out to approximately $13 per year. That’s a pretty reasonable price for the 10 years of traveling you could take advantage of! Whether you want to see the whole world, visit a far-flung friend or family member, or just hit the beach for a week every year—you’ll need a passport to do it.

It’s a Secure Form of Identification

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When it comes to IDs, a passport is the gold standard. Whether you’re applying for a new apartment or trying to provide six points of ID to get that driver’s license renewed, having a passport will come in super handy. Even better, it’s extremely difficult to manipulate or steal information from a passport, making it a valuable form of ID that’s really worth investing in. Don’t forget — thanks to the Real ID act, you might even need a passport to prove your identity when traveling within the United States.

Do you know what to do if you lose your passport or how to prepare for such a potential travel setback? Read ‘HELP! I Lost My Passport!’ A Short Guide on What to Do

You Never Know When You’ll Need It

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Even if international travel isn’t high on your priority list, you never know when you might need to hop on a plane! Business trip to Canada? You’ll need a passport. Your best friend’s destination wedding in Greece? You’ll need a passport for that too! Found a super cheap flight to Mexico, and want to jump on the opportunity for a week in the sun? Yep. You’ll need that passport. Save yourself the stress of last-minute passport renewal and get it now, before you really need it. Then, when the time comes, you’ll be ready to go. Phew!

A World of Adventure Will Open Up for You

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Less than half of Americans hold a current passport, and we’re notorious for taking part in international travel far less than citizens of other countries. Break away from the mold! Be the kind of American who goes out and sees the world. You’ll be the unique, adventurous one in your social circle—you’ll be the minority, after all—and you’ll have a ton of cool stories to show for it.

Taking an international trip on a budget? Read 6 Penny-Pinching Tips You Can Use to Save Money on Food Abroad to keep your stomach AND wallet full! 

Why Not?

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There are so many fascinating places to see and things to do in this world—why wouldn’t you take the opportunity to gain access to them all? If money’s a concern, never fear. The experts on cheap flights and budget travel are here to help. You never know when you’ll catch a case of wanderlust!

How many of you need to renew your passport this year? Will you be sending it in early? Let us know in the comments!

6 Responses

    • Edna

      My passport will expire this aug .2017, and I’m going to Philippines the 27th of this month. Do I have to renew it now

      Reply
      • Dave Odegard

        Hey Edna,

        If you get home before August, it’s probably best to wait to begin the renewal process until you get back. The State Department is warning of longer than usual wait times and you’ll need to send in your current passport when you apply for renewal – even if it’s still valid.

        -Dave

  1. Kuuipo

    We will renew ours ( Husband n Myself ) expires in June 2017 , soon as possible ! , Need to get through the Panama Canal , Hubby’s Bucket List ⚓️

    Reply
  2. Joyce

    I need to change my name and my daughter needs hers renewed because she is 17 now and it will cover her for 10years

    Reply

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About The Author

Hannah Winsten is a freelance writer and marketing consultant living in New York City. A total travel junkie, Hannah came to CheapOair as a French translator and SEM associate after returning from a stint living abroad in Paris. She’s also working on her first book--you know you want to read it. Find her on Twitter at @HannahRWinsten.