The U.S. State Department is advising passport holders whose records are about to expire in 2016 to renew as soon as possible. The agency is expecting a stream of requests and applications due to two instances, according to The New York Times.
Passports issued between 2006 and 2007 are about to expire and the State Department is hoping to avoid a similar scenario that caused delays of issuances and releases during that period. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was established in those years, which effectively required Americans coming from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean to have passports. The agency issued millions of passports to first-time holders, but it resulted in backlogs in the processing department.
"We were overwhelmed then, and we are not going to be overwhelmed again," said Michele Bond from the State Department. The agency has prepared for this scenario by adding more employees and passport renewal agencies since last year, according to The Washington Post.
However, the implementation of the Real ID Act could also bring in more passport issuance requests despite its compliance deadline not taking effect until 2018. This will require travelers to present identification cards other than driver's license at airport checking facilities.
Renewing 2016 expiring passports at the soonest time possible is also recommend especially since many countries require these to be valid six months before the expiration date, according to Huffington Post. So, save yourself the trouble and facilitate your passport renewals now.
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