Plan ahead if renewing your passport during 2016

When does your U.S. passport expire?

OK, maybe not as memorable a date as the birthdays, anniversaries and life-changing events that you’ve committed to memory. But if you’re planning a vacation this year, knowing your passport’s expiration date — and then getting your passport renewed ASAP if it happens to expire in 2016 — will prevent some disappointing things from happening to your long-planned getaway.

That’s because the U.S. Department of State is expecting to face way-higher-than-usual requests for passport renewal this year, and travelers who wait too long to renew their expiring-in-2016 passports might find themselves stranded at home or, worse, at some lonely elsewhere.

Chalk it up, in part, to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which went into effect in 2007 and required Americans traveling to and from Canada, Mexico and Bermuda to present a valid U.S passport or other approved document to enter the United States.

“So, for the first time, Americans had to have a passport to travel to Canada and Mexico, which were, and remain, the No. 1 and No. 2 destinations for Americans traveling outside the United States,” said Brenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary for passport services at the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

The new regulations spurred an unprecedented jump in passport applications, and the State Department reported that it issued more than 18 million passports in 2007 as a result of the new law. But, Sprague said, “we underestimated demand and we were caught flat and it was a nightmare, and we resolved that we would not let that happen again.”

U.S. passports for adults are valid for 10 years, and that means the first wave of passports obtained as a result of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative begin to expire this year. “We’ve been keeping an eye on things and working very hard to make sure we’re not caught short this year,” Sprague said.

Toward that end, the department has kicked off a campaign urging Americans to apply for passport renewals or new passports early, even before the passports actually expire and long before their planned 2016 trips arrive, to avoid potential delays caused by what it expects to be a crush of renewal applications throughout the year.

The department issued 14 million passports in 2014 and more than 14.3 million passports and passport cards in 2015. More than 126 million passports are in circulation, Sprague said, versus only about 7.9 million in 1989, and about 40 percent of Americans now hold passports.

As a result, Sprague said 2016 is expected “to be busy” on the renewal front, while 2017 will “be busier, and ’18 will still be pretty heavy demand. So it’s going to be an elevated level of demand for the next three years.”

Rene Schneeberger, travel agency manager for AAA Northern California, Nevada and Utah, said AAA’s travel counselors “encourage people, always, to renew their passports before they expire. So if you have, especially, (an expiration) date of June or July of 2016, you should definitely have submitted your application by now and, frankly, I would have done it a few weeks ago.”

Generally, Schneeberger said, the best time to renew a passport falls “between late December and sort of early to mid-February, (when) volume is weakest and they can process them quicker.”

But, he added, the impending arrival of spring break and then the spring and summer travel seasons increases demand for passports and passport renewals. That, in turn, increases the chances that the longer travelers wait to renew, the better their chances of receiving their new passport uncomfortably close to their departure dates.

Another key point: Even a passport that is several months away from expiration may be, for practical travel purposes, already as good as expired. That’s because many countries require that tourists have at least six months’ time remaining on their passports.

“So, it’s real important that people check their validity and be sure you have at least six months,” Sprague said.

Maria Lilibeth Ruiz, director of marketing for Prestige Travel and Cruises American Express, said travelers who book their own trips through online sites may be particularly susceptible to missing such passport-related details.

Travel counselors routinely “ask for a passport or ask questions about (a client’s) passport,” she said. “Otherwise, they find themselves in quite a pickle because, then, they don’t meet that six-month validity requirement.”

Sprague said the State Department estimates that a standard passport renewal (which costs $110 for adults) will take as long as six weeks. Expedited service, available for an additional $60, will see the traveler receiving a passport in three weeks. And, for emergency situations, in-person service — which will see an applicant receiving a passport in about eight business days — is available by appointment at a State Department passport agency (there are none in Las Vegas, but there are offices in Tucson, Ariz., Los Angeles and San Francisco).

While early renewals always are preferred, “we try to accommodate anyone with an emergency need, because we have two things that are hardwired into our DNA,” Sprague said. “The first one is, the only people who get a passport are those who are entitled to one. And the second one is, no missed trips, and we really take that very much to heart.”

By the way: While you’re checking out your own passport’s expiration date, check out your kids’ passports, too. Passports for children younger than 16 expire in five years, rather than adults’ 10 years.

For more information about the Apply Early program and links to information about passports and travel, visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs’ passport and international travel website (travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/apply-early.html).

— Read more from John Przybys at reviewjournal.com. Contact him at jprzybys@reviewjournal.com and follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Barber sets up shop in grandfather’s old shop
Andres Dominguez’s new barber shop is filled with memories of his grandfather, who ran the El Cortez landmark for more than 30 years. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Life and times of a 90-year-old horse player
Leo Polito of Las Vegas describes meeting legendary jockey and trainer Johnny Longden on the beach at Del Mar. Mike Brunker/Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Learning the history of singing bowls
Presentation at Summerlin Library teaches residents about the history of singing bowls (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learning live-saving techniques in Stop the Bleed class
Leslie Shaffer, an AMR paramedic, shows how to control bleeding during a Stop the Bleed course at the Summerlin Library. The class is designed to teach anyone how to control and stop life-threatening bleeding. (Mia Sims/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vicki Richardson speaks about on the power of art
Artist and arts advocate Vicki Richardson talks about the power of art to inspire and challenge. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DressCoders pairs tech with haute couture
DressCoders is a startup focused on haute couture garments. The company uses illuminated thread that is washable and can be sewn right into the fabric. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2019: Brava infrared oven
In cooking with the Brava infrared oven,there’s no preheating. the bulbs can reach 500 degrees in less than a second. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sinks Merge Style And Utility
Study could determine cause of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases
Dr. Aaron Ritter, director of clinical trials at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, discusses his research on how inflammation in the brain impacts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holocaust survivors talk about tragedy and friendship
Janos Strauss and Alexander Kuechel share their perspectives on life. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
'Siegel Cares' Santa delivers toys to kids at Siegel Suites in Las Vegas
Siegel Cares, the charitable wing of The Siegel Group, delivered toys to families at their apartment complexes in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Revisiting “Christ the King” sculpture
A longtime admirer of the sculpture at Christ the King Catholic Community in Las Vegas shares her perspective. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye)
Henderson couple adds another school to their generosity
Bob and Sandy Ellis of Henderson, who donate to several Clark County School District schools, have added Matt Kelly Elementary in Las Vegas to their list of schools where every student gets new shoes, socks and a toy. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Terry Fator Christmas House
Arguably better than a hotel holiday display, is Terry and Angie Fator's home located in southwest Las Vegas.
UNLV Winter Graduation Packs Thomas & Mack
UNLV's 55th winter commencement ceremony included approximately 2,146 undergraduate and graduate students who recently completed their studies. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Build-A-Bear comes to Reed Elementary School
Students participated in a Build-A-Bear-Workshop at Doris Reed Elementary School in Las Vegas, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the LVRJ
Rev. Father Seraphim Ramos talks about Greek Orthodox icons during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal at St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center art depicts names of God
Masjid Ibrahim Islamic Center founder Sharaf Haseebullah talks about new diamond-shaped art panels featuring some of the 99 names of Allah at the main entrance the Las Vegas mosque. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Holiday poultry with Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine
Tim and Chemaine Jensen of Village Meat & Wine explain the different types of poultry available for the holidays. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Catholic Charities hosts early Christmas meal
Students from the Bishop Gorman High School football and cheerleader team helped to serve food at the Christmas meal sponsored by the Frank and Victoria Fertitta Foundation at Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada on Sunday. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like