Why you should go renew your passport right now

Stacks of passport books are seen at the New Orleans Passport Agency in New Orleans in this July 17, 2007 file photo. A reader-submitted a question about passport files is being answered as part of an Associated Press Q&A column called "Ask AP." (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

NEW YORK (WCMH) — If you have a passport, you might want to go ahead and get it renewed right now.

That’s because nearly 49 million passports are set to expire in the next three years, CNN Money reports. That means there could be a flood of passport renewal request through 2018, which could put any potential travel plans outside the country at a standstill.

The 2007 REAL ID act is to blame. The post 9/11 security measure requires everyone to use a passport if they leave the country.

In 2007 alone, some 18 million passports were issued. Now, those are all about to be up for renewal. Because of the influx, the renewal process could take six weeks or longer if you wait too long to start the process.

That’s why State Department officials are encouraging you start that process now.

Renewing a passport book costs $110 and can be done by mail. First-time holders must apply in person at a designated post office, court or other agency, and that fee is $135. If you wish only to travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda, there is the cheaper passport card which is only $30 for people who already hold a passport book.

You can learn more about the passport process on the State Department’s website.

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