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Our passports expire in December 2017 and we plan on renewing them before June of 2017.  Why, you might ask?  Well there are a number of reasons why you should renew or apply for your passports early next year.

Why should you renew your passport earlier than the expiration date?

  • Aside from the fact that your passport is your best form of identification, and it should always be valid, it’s because of a ruling that came down in 2007 requiring that Americans have passports when traveling into Canada and Mexico.  Now, 8 years later, lots and lots of passports are going to be expiring within the next 2 years causing a delay in processing both renewals and new applications.   I remember how many of our clients ended up running into NY or Philadelphia two days before their departure date with travel documents in hand to get their passports renewed on the spot since it was taking 8+ weeks for renewals back then.  We certainly don’t want to see again as these 2006 and 2007 passports are up for renewal.
  • Also, according to Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary of Passport Services at the U.S. State Department, early renewals can help you avoid paying expedited processing fees.
  • There is no specific waiting period before you can renew your passport but with another new ruling coming out in January, it makes sense to renew early.
  • As of January 2016, you will no longer be able to add additional visa pages to your current passport book.  You will have to obtain a new passport.  According to Ms. Sprague, “Two options will be available: either 28 or 52 pages with no difference in cost.”
  • Many countries around the world require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months AFTER your date of return, including Mexico

According to Ms. Sprague, when speaking at a recent travel agent association convention in Washington DC, there used to be a peak passport renewal and application ‘season’

In the past “passport [application and renewal] season” began in mid-January, peaked in March and then ran steadily through August before trailing off, said Sprague.

Since last year, the trend has been for it to continue rising throughout the year. “This summer, it never slowed down,” Sprague noted.

And when clients lose their passports, agents should have them check thoroughly before reporting it because once the passport is reported missing, it can’t be reinstated even if it’s found, Sprague said.

My Vacation Lady has always recommended having valid passports when cruising (even if you are sailing from and back to the same cruise port).    Ms. Sprague mentioned to the travel agents at the convention that,

While passports aren’t required for cruises that begin and end in U.S. ports, Sprague said agents should encourage clients to obtain passports anyway, noting that people may get sick or injured when visiting ports and have to fly back.

Good advise from the Passport Services department.

My Vacation Lady does require copies of our clients’ passports if airfare is being added to an international reservation.  We have caught many expired or soon to be expired passports that way.  The goal at our agency is to provide personalized service to our clients which includes customizing your vacations and honeymoons to your dreams and budget.  Contact us for assistance with planning your next vacation!