The world is slowly reopening to tourists. Many of us have been anxiously awaiting the return to travel and are planning “bucket list” trips for 2022 and even 2023.
Before you think about planning any international trips, check your passport’s expiration date right now!!!
Your travel documents MUST be valid for at least six months past the dates of any planned international trips. Since passports are valid for up to 10 years, it is easy to forget when exactly it needs to be renewed (especially if you don’t use it too often). This seemingly small detail could result in unnecessary travel stress and heartache.
Although the U.S. allows travelers to use a passport until the exact date listed on the front page, that’s not the case for many other countries. For example, if you want to visit New Zealand, your passport needs to be valid for another three months past your trip. Want to tour Thailand? Six months. (You can check the State Department’s website for the specific requirements for different countries.) Even though some countries have more lenient requirements, it’s better to play it safe. The best rule of thumb…if your passport is scheduled to expire within the next 6-12 months, renew it now.
How long will it take to get a new passport? Because of COVID-19 the process is taking much longer than usual. For awhile last year, they stopped processing passports so there is still a backlog. You can expect to wait 3 months or more. However, if you ‘expedite’ your passport the waiting time is 4-6 weeks and you will need to pay an additional $60 for the expedited service. If you have a life or death emergency that requires an immediate renewal within 3 days, you can make an in-person appointment. You can also pay extra for 1-2 day delivery after the passport has been printed.
Do not wait! Check your passport immediately. If it expires within the next 6-12 months, begin the process of renewal today! You will be glad you did when the time comes to book that next Bucket List trip!