Attention travelers: if you’ve been scouting Instagram for new vacation spots, take a hard look at your passport expiration date. You may need to renew sooner than you think.
Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to go to the passport office to get your passport renewed?
It just may happen. The State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is considering online passport renewals, according to a story in Federal News Radio.
After more than two decades of passport-free travel within Europe, the European Union is preparing to invoke emergency border controls for at least two years.
The flood of refugees—in particular, Greece’s inability to control its borders—and recent terrorist attacks in the region have been threatening to end the policy of “borderless travel” between EU members.
If you have a United States passport expiring any time in 2016, the State Department has a message for you: Renew it now.
The department anticipates a surge in passport demand throughout this year, and officials hope to avoid a crush that could leave some Americans fuming in frustration with no passport in hand on the day they planned to travel outside the country.
According to the U.S. Department of State, there will be an increase in the demand of passports come January. It is recommended to apply for a new passport or renew your passport in the quieter months of September, October, and November so they are processed faster.
The Department of Homeland Security will install 340 passport kiosks nationwide in an effort to speed up entry for international air passengers. Additionally, a program to allow certain passengers to submit their passport and customs information with their smartphones will be rolled out to 20 additional airports by the end of next year.
The U.S. Department of State is encouraging travelers to closely monitor the validity of their own and their family members’ passports. Many countries throughout the world require travelers’ passports to have at least six months’ validity at the time of entry. If a traveler’s passport does not meet this requirement, a traveler may be refused boarding by an airline at the point of departure or even while transferring planes in another country. Travelers could also be denied entry upon arrival in a foreign country. Remember that passports issued to children under the age of 16 are valid for five years, while an adult passport is valid for 10 years.
Automated passport control (APC) kiosks paid for by U.S. airlines are reducing wait times for U.S. Customs and Border Protection at airports across the U.S. United spokesman Luke Punzenberger said, “These kiosks have reduced wait times for customers arriving at Chicago O’Hare and in Houston.” United has already paid for kiosks at its hubs and is awaiting for San Francisco and Newark to receive theirs. Delta is also paying to install kiosks by this summer in its hub airports; JFK, Atlanta, Detroit, Seattle, LAX, and Minneapolis.