For international travelers, the economic crisis has a silver lining: the recovery of the US Dollar. Earlier this year, international travel was like putting a vacuum hose into your bank account. The dollar was so weak that you would lose money just by changing it to a local currency! Suddenly, international travel is much more affordable, but nobody’s sure how long that will last. Now is the time to take that overseas trip you’ve been dreaming of.

Before you go, don’t forget to check the expiration date on your passport! Even if it hasn’t expired yet, some countries won’t let you in if it expires in less than 6 months. You can renew your passport by mail as long as all of the following are true:

  • Your old passport hasn’t been lost or damaged.
  • Your old passport is less than 15 years old and you were over 16 when you received it.
  • You have legal documents to support any name changes you’ve made since your last passport was issued.

To renew your passport by mail, complete the following steps:

  1. Fill out the Department of State’s passport renewal Form DS-82. Send it along with your old passport, 2 passport photos, and any legal name change documents.
  2. Show the government the money: renewing your passport by mail costs $75.00. An expedited passport costs an additional $60.00.
  3. Regular passport renewal requests should be processed in 3 weeks, although it may take longer. Expedited passport renewal requests take about 2 weeks.

What if you need your passport renewed more quickly? Use a private passport expediter: they can have your passport renewal processed in as little as 24 hours! In fact, if you need your passport within the next month, using an expediter is a smart move.

Why is a passport expediter the best choice? Sometimes, applications get delayed. A small mistake or sloppy handwriting on your application can keep you from getting your passport when you need it. Once you’ve made travel plans, being stuck with an expired passport can ruin your trip and cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars! An expediting service can guide you through the passport renewal process so that this doesn’t happen to you.