TRAVEL
01/27/2016 02:03 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2017

If Your Passport Expires Any Time in 2017, You Need To Renew It NOW

Soon, things could get ugly.

JannHuizenga via Getty Images

If you hate long lines and the possibility of a cancelled vacation, you might wanna get a new passport, um, NOW.

In a few months, it could be too late. 

The U.S. State Department has issued warnings about a huge swell in passport renewals and applications that started last year and is projected to last through 2018, as The New York Times reported. The reason: A batch of 10-year passports from 2006 and 2007 are expiring, and a new law will require more robust forms of ID from some travelers in 2018.

That could seriously back things up in the passport processing department... and seriously snag your travel plans. YIKES. 

Back in 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative required Americans to carry passports when flying home from Mexico, Canada and a host of other locations. The law caused a huge uptick in passport applications that year, and in 2016, all those passports began to expire.

What’s more, the Real ID Act will soon require plane passengers from some states to show ID beyond a driver’s license. 

Combine those two factors with the rule that some countries require your passport to be valid for at least six months past your travel date, and you’ve got a perfect storm for processing delays. 

AFP via Getty Images

To prepare for the big rush, the State Department has hired hundreds of extra employees and built new passport agencies over the last decade or so, the Washington Post reported in 2015.

But they’re still encouraging passport holders to renew early, and renew now. That’s always a good idea, considering your passport could be deemed invalid even months before its expiration date

So get in line (if you’re a first-time passport applicant), get online (if you’re renewing), or get it fast ― whatever you need to get around the world.

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