If You're Going to Renew Your Passport, This Is the Exact Time to Do It

Updated 04/19/19
The Chriselle Factor

Renewing your passport is a headache we all wish we could avoid, but having an expired (or soon-to-expire) passport ruin your vacation plans is much worse. Too often are travelers caught off-guard by passport issues that always seem to arise at the last minute (sometimes even at the airport). To avoid wasted airfare and vacation days or the hefty costs (and uncertainty) that come with expedited passport renewal, it's imperative to make sure all your paperwork is in order well in advance of an approaching trip. If your passport is expiring soon, meaning anytime in the next six months, it's time to begin applying for your next passport. Condé Nast Traveler recently outlined the exact reasons that right now is the best time to renew a passport.

Holiday travels: Even if your passport is set to expire after the holiday break, the expiration date could impact your international travel. Many countries won't accept passports that expire three to six months after your departure date, even if you plan on returning home well before then. If you have plans for international travel over the holidays, be sure your passport meets the required validity time—otherwise, begin the renewal process now to avoid any issues.

Shorter processing times: Because so many wait until the New Year to renew their passports, processing times are shorter between September and December, before the big January rush. The State Department website already estimates passport renewal to take four to six weeks, so avoid waiting until there are further delays come the New Year's increase in applicants.

The Real ID Act: Another major reason to renew your passport before January is that the Real ID Act takes effect on January 22, 2018. From then on, the TSA's rules will be tightened and driver's licenses from nine states will no longer be accepted for domestic travel.

Ready to renew? Here are our easy tips for passport renewal.

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