Are you planning an international trip? Good for you, but you’d better check your passport expiration date. An expired passport, or a passport that expires in the near future, can cause an unexpected change of plans – never a good thing when it comes to travel.
At RushMyPassport, we help travelers get expedited passport renewals every single day – in fact, one of the most common reasons people come to us is that they’ve forgotten to renew. This isn’t just an American problem, either. A survey from Sunshine.co.uk, a popular British travel agency, revealed that an expired passport had changed or affected travel plans for 8% of respondents, or almost 1 in 10.
I haven’t been able to find a similar study for the US, but this quote from Sunshine.co.uk founder Chris Brown is equally true on this side of the pond:
“Our customer service team often receive enquiries about passport regulations and it’s surprising how confused some people are on the matter. If you’re going on holiday, it’s important you do your homework and check that everything is in place to make your trip run smoothly. You’d be surprised how common it is for people to turn up at the airport, only to be told they cannot fly because they only have a few months left before their passport expires. Even if you are due to return to the UK before your passport expires, you often need a few months left on your passport to be able to travel in the first place.”
That last sentence is key, actually. Even if your passport is technically still valid, many countries won’t let you in if it expires in the next 6 months, or sometimes 3. This applies even if you plan to leave the country in question long before your passport expires.
Always check the rules in the country you’re traveling to. Then, if you need to renew, apply well in advance. If you apply with regular processing, you’ll end up waiting at least 6 weeks and maybe more. You can pay an additional $60 expedite fee to the Department of State, but you’ll still need to allow at least 3 weeks.
If you find yourself in a more urgent situation, don’t panic. You have two options: Make an appointment at one of the 22 regional passport agency offices currently serving the US, or use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport. We’ll rush your passport renewal application directly to the Department of State, for processing in as little as 24 hours.
Apply for your passport renewal today!