Passport Preparation Tips

Do you know when your passport expires?

The U.S. Department of State anticipates a surge in the number of applications—one that could affect your next vacation. Travelers whose passports expire anytime in 2016 or 2017 can get a jump start on the renewal process with these smart tips.

Think you don’t need to reapply for a passport until your existing one is just about to expire? Think again. About a decade ago, the United States began requiring passports for travel to and from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, causing applications to soar from 12 million in 2006 to 18 million in 2007. Passports issued during that uptick are now reaching their expiration dates, and the government is expecting as many as 16 million renewal applications this year and another 20 million in 2017—the most they’ve ever seen. Travelers should be prepared to wait longer for their applications to be processed or to try to beat the backlog by applying as early as possible.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate your renewal:

  • For a fee, travelers can purchase expedited service to receive their passports in three weeks.
  • Almost all countries require that passports held by leisure visitors be valid for at least six months from the date of arrival, so be aware of your passport’s expiration date even if it’s half a year in advance of your trip.
  • If you travel a lot and are running out of pages, you may need to renew.
  • You can conveniently renew your passport by mail if you meet certain requirements.

Know before you go! Find even more passport renewal tips at


  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: July 2016