Got a passport?
Take it out and check the expiration date. The Department of State is warning of a passport crunch coming very soon, that may extend the time it takes you to apply for or renew a passport. Here's why:
1) A number of travel regulations changed in 2006-2008, which increased the number of U.S. citizens with passports. The 10-year-expiration date is coming up on all those passports, so there is an expected higher demand for renewals.
2) The dollar is strong right now, so more people are looking to travel abroad.
3) The Real ID act has heightened awareness of forms of ID and may contribute slightly to higher passport demand.
Things you should know:
1) If your travel consists mostly of crossing the border into Mexico and/or Canada, you may have a Passport Card instead of the book.
2) Passport services is increasing its capability in preparation for increased demand, but expect a slight increase in processing time, as well.
3) Starting January 2, 2016, Visa Page Inserts will no longer be offered. Road Warriors can order the 52-page book when you renew your passport.
4) You can also order a 2nd passport, if you're a frequent traveler and your passport is likely to be held up in Visa applications.
A New Look
One more thing: the Next Generation passport has a new look to help combat counterfeit attempts. Existing passports are still valid until expiration, but your new book or card will look a bit different.