In the next three years 49 million US passports will expire. Government officials are warning anyone who needs a new passport to submit their request before the bulk of those expirations arrive through 2018.
The flood of new requests is expected after a US law went into effect in 2007 that requires US citizens to use a passport when traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
When that law went into effect there were 18 million passports issued. Each passport in the US is valid for 10 years.
Adding to the need for a new passport is the fact that many European countries won’t accept passports within six months of their expiration date.
September was Passport Awareness Month and government officials started warning US citizens to jump into action.
The fastest renewal times occur between September and December, according to Brenda Sprague, an official at the state department.
The cost for a renewed passport book is $110 and it can be completed by mail. If you are first-time passport holder you must apply in person.
Passport books for children are only valid for five years, and that legal guardians must consent to the passport and appear in person with the child during the application process in order to prevent abductions.
If you only plan to travel between Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, there is also the cheaper passport card available for just $30 for citizens who currently hold a passport book.