Before you even think about booking that bucket-list vacation, there's one thing you need to do right now: Double check the expiration date on your passport.
It's vital to make sure your travel documents are valid for at least six months past the dates of any planned international trips. Since passports are valid for up to 10 years, it's understandably easy to forget when exactly it needs to be renewed (especially if you don't use it all that often). This seemingly small detail could result in a travel disaster.
While the U.S. allows travelers to use a passport until the exact date listed on the front page, that’s not the case for many other countries. For example, if you want to check out the natural beauty of New Zealand, your passport needs to be valid for another three months past your trip. Want to spend a week on the beach in Thailand? Six months. (You can check the State Department’s website for the specific requirements for different countries.) Even though some countries have more lenient requirements, it's better to play it safe.
All those requirements mean you might need to renew your passport sooner than you thought. Here's how long it will take to renew your passport.
How long does it take to renew a passport?
If your passport's time is almost up, don't wait — start the process now. Passport processing times vary — currently, you can expect to wait between 10 to 12 weeks for routine processing and four to six weeks if you go the expedited route, according to the State Department website. You'll have to pay a $60 expedite fee, if you don't want to wait for routine processing. If you have an urgent situation (like a life or death emergency) that requires an immediate renewal for international travel within 72 hours, you can make an in-person appointment.
You can also pay extra for one- to two-day delivery, which means that your passport will be shipped to you within one to two days after it is printed.
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