The State Department is estimating from now through 2018 there is going to be a massive backlog of passport applications. Plus, the design of U.S. passports is getting an overhaul.
Renew your passport now
In 2016, there were over 14 million passport renewal requests, the State Department is estimating a minimum of 20 million requests into 2018. There’s never been a better time to expedite your passport renewal.
Many people aren’t aware the expiration date on their passport is not the expiration date. Many countries will deny you entry if there are less than six months left until expiration on your passport.
You will have to comply with the Real I.D. Act
The REAL ID Act, passed in 2005 and coming into effect January of 2018, established a set of federal security standards for state driver’s licenses that require specific information and machine-readable technology. Travelers using IDs issued by certain states could be turned away at the gate. According to the Department of Homeland Security, after 2020, absolutely all travelers on U.S. domestic flights must comply with the REAL ID Act. Having a passport will be worth it.
Additional Rules Have Been Added
As of November 2016 glasses are no longer allowed in passport photos. The State Department sent away thousands of applications due to poor passport photos, so make sure that you adhere to rules and guidelines for passport photos.
Tip: Glasses are still allowed for medical conditions. Simply send along a doctor’s note with your application.
Passports got an all-over upgrade
In the summer of 2016, passports began to be manufactured with chips installed. The chip on the info page is machine readable and contains a biometric key for the traveler it is assigned to. Passports also have fewer pages and adding additional pages is no longer an option. Even the covers were updated. The covers are tougher, resist wear better, and water resistant.
New security features
U.S. passports now have the data chip that allows for scanning. The State Department states more technological advancements are in the works along with forensic devices.