There’s hardly anything worse that preparing for a big trip only to realize your passport is nearly expired. Regardless of where you are in the world, having a passport is just a good idea, so be sure that your passport is up-to-date. Even if you’re a few months away from you’re expiration date, it’s important to start the process as early as you can. Airlines are even beginning to turn away flyers if their passports expire within 6 months, making international travel complicated. For those in the United States, we spoke with David Alwadish of ItsEasy.com about the process since he has a unique perspective of this process to renew your passport. According to the U.S. State Department, passport renewals are expected to exceed 16 million in 2016 and as many as 20 million in 2017 causing lengthy waits on passport returns.

“Given the unprecedented surge in renewals expected for this year and next, due to the Western Hemisphere Initiative in 2007 [requiring Americans to have a passport for air travel to and from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean], it is very important that passport holders get their passports renewed months in advance,” said David Alwadish, CEO and President of ItsEasy.com. “There are so many changes that have been implemented recently with passports, and our job at ItsEasy is to guide customers through the passport renewal process, and give them a sense of ease and security.”

Here are David’s 5 Tips for Renewing Your Passport:

  1. Check the date on your passport: If you’re passport was issued prior to your 16th birthday, it only lasts 5 years. After 16, your passport can go 10 years before each renewal.
  2. Changing your name: Make sure you have the same name as your most recent passport. Name changes for passport renewals are only recognized in the event of marriage, divorce or a court order.
  3. Passport Photo: Do not wear glasses, uniforms, head coverings (unless for religious purposes) or smile.
  4. Shoud I ask for extra pages? Unfortunately there is no longer an extra page option for passports. Passport holders should opt for the 52-page book if they plan to do a lot of traveling.
  5. Signature: Make sure that your signature is consistent to ensure your application is handled properly.

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