Preparing for the Return to Travel: Don’t Delay on Renewing your Passport.
Even if you’re not planning to travel internationally, now is the time to renew your passport, even if it doesn’t expire in 2021.
The State Department issued a notice earlier this year that passport processing times are now 10 to 12 weeks. It also warned of delays in receiving passport applications due to unprecedented mail volume and other COVID-19 impacts on the Postal Service. Further, it has said that COVID-19 has forced its agencies and centers to offer extremely limited in-person services.
Some countries require that passports be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. That means even if your passport doesn’t expire until 2022, you might not be able to travel internationally in late 2021 if it expires inside six months. Some airlines won’t allow you to board with a passport that is near expiration (and hey, you probably don’t want to fly 20 hours to Dubai only to find the United Arab Emirates won’t let you into the country). The State Department’s Country Information page provides details on which countries have such requirements.
Even if you don’t plan to travel internationally anytime in the next few years, a passport could be necessary for domestic travel.
Beginning on Oct. 1, you’ll need Real ID-compliant identification to board domestic flights. Real ID is a state-issued driver’s license or identification card with a star. Alternatively, residents from Washington, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, and Vermont can use their Enhanced Driver’s License for Real ID purposes, according to the Department of Homeland Security. To obtain Real ID-compliant identification, you’ll typically have to visit your state’s driver’s licensing agency.
How to renew your passport? The easiest way to do this is by mail. You can do this if all of the following apply:
- You have your passport in your possession (and can submit it with your application).
- It is undamaged (aside from normal wear and tear).
- You received it when you were at least 16 years old.
- It was issued within the past 15 years.
- It was either issued to your current name or you can submit documentation of your name change.
For more information for how to renew your passport by mail, FAQs and helpful guides, visit the Travel.State.Gov Website.