We here at Adventures Within Reach want to share some news about United States passports as well as pass on some hard lessons learned by a couple of our clients.
Passports Expiring in 2016
If you have a passport expiring in 2016, you should renew it NOW. The processing time is six weeks, two weeks longer than the four week processing time in 2015. The State Department anticipates demand for passport services to increase this year because 2016 is the 10-year mark for when the United States started requiring Americans returning by air from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to have passports. That requirement created considerable backlogs at the State Department then and the State Department anticipates a related backlog now.
Passports Must Be Valid Six Months Beyond Entry
Another reason to renew your passport now is because many countries are now enforcing their requirements that your passport be valid for six months beyond entry. A couple of our clients have been denied entry at foreign airports and borders; we don’t want you to have that same travel experience!
Passports Must Contain Four Blank Pages Per Country Visited
Also, please make sure you have at least four blank pages in your passport per country you plan on visiting (although we’ve not encountered a country where two blank pages have not sufficed, some countries say they require four blank pages). So, for example, if you plan on visiting three countries on one of our trips, you will need at least 12 blank pages.
If you do not have enough pages, you will need to get a new passport. For all of you road warriors out there, as of January 1, 2016, the State Department stopped issuing additional pages, but instead is issuing passports with more pages (52 pages instead the standard 28 pages) to frequent international travelers. If you do not have enough pages during your journey, you will need to go to the local U.S. embassy to get your passport renewed. And then you will be stuck at the embassy rather than being out there exploring!