Every year, millions of Americans travel overseas for work or family vacations. Those with plans to travel outside of our borders for the first time will need to apply for a U.S. passport, and the earlier it’s done, the better. For others who already have a passport, now is also a good time to check the expiration date and renew it, if necessary, as the State Department prepares for an influx of applications.
In 2007, Congress passed the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative to require travelers to present a valid U.S. passport when traveling to Canada and various Caribbean Islands, in addition to all other out-of-country travel. Since this policy passed, passport applications have increased dramatically. Because most U.S. passports are valid for 10 years, many of these passports will be up for renewal in the coming year. With 20 million first-time and renewal applications projected, the State Department is warning travelers of the potential for significantly longer processing times for all passports in 2017.
In light of this unprecedented surge, it is important for those with a desire to travel in the near future check to plan ahead. Getting a valid passport can take up to two months under normal circumstances, not to mention that getting one sooner rather than later can save you time and money, and help to avoid a delay in your travel plans. While this may seem like a tedious and time-consuming task, the good news is my office is here to help.
Navigating the passport process is one of the various services my office offers to the people of Ohio’s 15th Congressional district. We can help guide you through the application and renewal process by providing you with information on fees and wait times, while also helping you submit all the necessary materials.
My office can also work with the State Department to prioritize passport applications based on your date of departure. In other words, we can help to expedite your passport application or renewal if you ever find yourself in need of a valid passport with little time to spare. If you would like more information about applying for or renewing a passport and the upcoming surge, feel free to contact my Hilliard office at 614-771-4968.
Whether voting on legislation in Washington or assisting you with a federal agency, it is my honor to serve you, and I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to call my office in Washington, D.C. at 202-225-2015, Hilliard at 614-771-4968, Lancaster at 740-654-2654, or Wilmington at 937-283-7049 with any questions or comments you have about issues facing the federal government.
Steve Stivers is a member of Congress from Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.
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