Quick! Check your passport. Is it expiring anytime this year? If so, get thee to the nearest post office and mail off your renewal forms now. The State Department is anticipating a surge of requests--and subsequent delays--as millions of passports are up for renewal between this year and next.
Why the influx? Well in 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect. Under that new law, U.S. citizens were required to carry a passport when traveling to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean (aka everyone’s go-to spring break and honeymoon spots). As a result, 18 million passports were issued that year--and they’re all approaching expiration.
Renewals can take up to six weeks, so plan accordingly. Hey, at least the photo is finally in your control. Thanks to this nifty app, you can take as many selfies as you need before settling on the photo that you'll carry around for the next ten years.