Passport applications and renewals are at an all-time high. Whether your passport has expired, has been damaged due to weather, or you need a passport due to the new Real ID Act, the process can be a bit overwhelming – TI is here to help you understand what is required, and what you can do to simplify the process.

Plan ahead.

An adult passport is valid for ten years, and a child’s passport is valid for 5 years before it is required for renewal. Many people are unaware that
some countries will not accept a passport with less than six months of time remaining from the expiration date. It is recommended to renew your passport at least nine months before it expires. This also saves you from the hassle – and cost – of having to expedite the process.

Average processing time and what you can do to expedite.

The average processing time is 4-6 weeks. However, with the increase in current applications, this could extend to 6-8 weeks, and even as far out as 10 weeks in peak season (Spring and Summer). You have a couple of options:

  • First check with your passport service for the current expected time to process – this is usually available online
  • Expedited service – 3 weeks
  • Express service through passport agency – 8 days

Frequent international traveler? Get a passport with extra pages.

In 2016, the passport administration discontinued the option to add pages to your current passport – thus requiring each traveler to apply for a new passport to accommodate the additional travel even though the passport had not expired. A standard passport has 28 pages ($88.00). However, you can apply for a 52-page passport at an additional cost ($110.00). Keep in mind that each page can hold approximately four stamps, which allows you to enter and exit two countries, and certain countries that require a visa will take up a full page.

Find out if you need a visa before you travel.

It is possible to show up at the airport, passport in hand, only to be turned away because you actually needed a visa. U.S. citizens have free access to 174 countries around the globe. Some countries will allow a tourist without a visa, but require a visa for business use – so it is important to
check in advance of your travel. The most common locations that require a visa include Australia, China, India, and Russia. Companies such as CIBT can help you understand the requirements and how to obtain a visa, if needed.

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