If you haven’t renewed your U.S. passport since 2006 or 2007, now’s the time to ensure you’re up-to-date. In January, U.S. State Department officials announced they’re expecting a spike in passport applications and renewals in 2016, with 10-year passports set to expire soon.

Why the sudden uptick? In 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was put into effect, mandating that American citizens entering the U.S. by air from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean carry a passport, triggering a backlog in renewals for millions of applicants – a scenario that could easily occur again. Flash forward to today, and many travelers are also concerned about whether they’ll need to show an alternate form of acceptable identification for domestic flights to comply with the REAL ID Act, which will be put into effect on Jan. 22, 2018, and will impose more stringent ID requirements. And besides the chance to dodge a delayed – or cumbersome – process later on, there’s also the matter of entry requirements imposed by international countries. With a number of places requiring a minimum of six months left on your passport, there’s never been a better time to be passport-ready for smooth, stress-free travel.

Image courtesy of ylpl.net

Read more at MSN

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