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Four Changes & Processing Delays to Know About Before Traveling

If you’re getting ready to travel abroad and need to apply for or renew a U.S. Passport here are a few things you might need to know:

  1. Passport Processing is Slowing

Getting a U.S. Passport or renewing your U.S. Passport is usually pretty easy.  However, the U.S. State Department has recently made some changes to the passports themselves.  The changes combined with an increase of application requests are creating a massive backlog.  So be sure to plan far enough in advance of your trip!

  1. Passports are Changing

Starting in 2016, changes started taking place.  A major change for many people is eye glasses are no longer allowed to be worn in passport photos. Passports also got a makeover with fewer pages and a special coating to better protect the passport book. A new security chip has also been installed inside the passport to better protect against fraud. The U.S. State Department says you can expect to see even more changes in the future as technology continues to advance.

  1. Passport Six Month Validity Rule

A major passport change many people are unaware of is the Six Month Validity Rule.  Many countries, including the majority of European countries, have adopted the rule.  Under the Six Month Validity Rule, you may be denied entry if your U.S. Passport is set to expire within six months.

  1. REAL ID Act Affects Domestic Travel

The REAL ID Act passed in 2005 and comes into effect January 22, 2018. Per the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “passengers with a driver’s license issued by a state that is still not compliant with the REAL ID Act (and has not been granted an extension) will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel to board their flight.” Beginning October 1, 2020, EVERY air traveler will need a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of ID to board domestic flights.

For more information about U.S. Passports, click here.

For more information about REAL IDs, click here.

Already have your U.S. Passport, but need help processing your Visa? Email  or call us at 202.386.7575 to find out how we can help.