My day job requires that I travel frequently. Recently, my passport came up for renewal. Typically, it takes about 2-3 weeks to renew a passport. However, lately it has been running much longer. I sent my passport in for renewal on March 7th and as of today (April 12th) I still do not have it.
Because I’m traveling soon, I called to check my status. Good thing I did. They misspelled my name! Instead of Ward they had Wand. Close call. Also, because I’m traveling soon, they expedited my request (for an additional $67 + $15 for overnight).
Most of this delay is because of a recent announcement that Canada will require passports shortly. As a result, there has been a large influx of passport applications which has swamped the regional processing centers. What was not communicated as clearly was that these passports are only required if you travel to Canada from the USA by air or water!
- Many countries require that your passport be valid for 6 months from the time of entry. You should renew your passport before it expires. I usually renew about a year before it expires just to be safe (Passports are valid for 10 years).
- Make a photocopy of your passport and keep it with you. If your passport is lost or stolen, most US consulates can replace them it within 24 hours if you have this documentation.
- Always, always always keep your passport on your person. If you are detained or arrested, you won’t have the opportunity to go back to your hotel room and get it.