If your US Passport is expiring in 2017, renew it now to save time and money. Ditto if you are getting a new US Passport. The busy season for applications starts soon, and the longer you wait, the longer it will take to get your new travel document. That delay could prevent you from entering a country that requires a passport to be valid for six months after arrival, a visa, or both.
US government officials are expecting a higher volume of renewals this year because so many travelers got new passports in 2007. That’s when a new law went into effect requiring US citizens to have passports to travel to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean. Before 2007, a driver’s license or another government-issued ID was enough.
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Since US passports are valid for ten years, if you got a new or renewed passport in 2007, it is expiring this year. Normally, it takes around six weeks to process an application, but you can expect longer processing time this year.
The State Dept. website lists all the costs and requirements.
A new passport costs $135.
If you are traveling only to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean or Bermuda, get a $55 passport card, which looks like a driver’s license.
Passport renewals cost $110 for the booklet or $30 for the card.
Those are the prices for mailing it in, which will take 6-8 weeks. If that’s too long, you can opt for expedited delivery for an additional $60
Emergency passport service
If you are traveling within two weeks, or need a foreign visa within four weeks, you can apply for emergency service by submitting the paperwork – in person – at a US Passport office in major cities, and at many US Post Office locations.
I got a passport renewed in just 48 hours last year at the US Passport office in New York City, after requesting an appointment online, and arriving with all my documents, including a copy of my airline tickets and hotel reservation. And, of course, my expiring passport.
Passport expeditor and courier services
There are a number of businesses which will do the paperwork for you, for a fee.
ItsEasy lets you do everything online, including a selfie passport photo, for an $80 fee, with delivery of your new passport in in ten days.
Check the State Dept. page on Passport Expeditors and Couriers for FAQs and more.
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