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Travel News Travel Tips

Expect Delays With Passport Renewals

Almost ten years ago, the law requiring a passport to travel to and from Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean was passed. Not surprisingly, the State Department saw a huge surge in new passport applications and passport renewals for the following few years. Now, 10 years later, those same passports are about to expire. And the State Department anticipates a rise in renewals, leading again to processing delays.

What to expect with passport renewals and other updates:

  1.  The typical timeframe for passport renewals is six weeks. With this increase in demand, longer delays are expected.
  2. Whether for business or pleasure, begin the renewal process of your process of your passport as soon as you can. Avoid the additional stress of waiting for the new passport in a time crunch if you can.
  3. Newer passports now include microchip technology, which is compliant with REAL ID act security and fraud prevention. But, depending on what state you live in, you may need an updated passport to fly domestically. Read more about the details of the REAL ID Act and commercial flying in our latest blog.
  4. Be sure to check children’s passports too. Child passports expire after only five years.
  5. Most destinations require a three-six month passport validity to even enter the country. Read the reasons in our passport tips blog. This is an often overlooked fact, leaving many unable to fly abroad. And yet another reason to know your renewal date.

The main point — if your passport is due to expire in the next few years, expect a long processing delay. You never know when a trip opportunity may suddenly arise, especially for frequent business travelers. Be smart and get the renewal process started ASAP.

Christopherson Business Travel is a travel management company for businesses. We specialize in superior travel technology and passionate account management. With more than 60 years of experince, Christopherson is privately owned and based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Business Travel Travel News

How The REAL ID Act Will Soon Affect Travelers

On January 20, 2018, the REAL ID act will go into the final stages of its enactment for commercial air travelers, completely revolutionizing our standards of identification and fraud while traveling.  What is the change? Only compliant driver’s licenses or other identification will be allowed on domestic flights. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming changes:

What is the REAL ID Act?

Passed by Congress in 2005, this act recommended that the Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”  It is in the process of regulating state driver’s licenses and identification documentation for security standards. Along with defining the identification process for boarding commercial airlines, it also outlines the protocol for entering federal buildings, nuclear power plants, and even some visas. Regulating travel with this advanced security is the fourth and final stage of enactment.

What is the process and when can we expect to see changes?

We are already in the final stages of these REAL ID act updates. Starting at the beginning of 2016, the Department of Homeland Security announced the final changes. In July they began web-based advisories, with the help of airlines and airport stakeholders.
Starting in December 2016, expect to see signage and handouts while traveling through airport checkpoints.

What updates are needed?

Driver’s licenses need to be REAL ID compliant to be used as identification while flying commercially. This includes scannable microchip technology in every driver’s license or identification card. It is the responsibility of the individual states or territories to implement these changes. Most states have already updated the REAL ID standards, but there are a few states/territories that have lagged behind.

How do I know if my state driver’s license is compliant?

The Department of Homeland Security has an up-to-date list of the states that are compliant, under review, have an extension, or are not compliant.  Some states have been granted an extension in the process until June or October 2017 to update their licenses.

What if my state driver’s license or identification card is not accepted?

Starting January 22, 2018, if your state is still not compliant with the new standards, you will have to provide additional documentation. If they do not have this supporting documentation, they will not be allowed to fly.

By 2020, all states should be compliant with the new standards.

Are there any other options?

Passports are now also updated with the same microchip technology as the new driver’s license. If you are concerned about potential delays or ineligibility, renewing or applying for a passport is a great alternative. Be advised, the State Department is anticipating a surge of applications, so start the process sooner than later.

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Travel Management Travel News

Passport Day – September 17

Do you know the status of your passport?  Need to get one, renew one or resolve an issue?  For those of you that have been meaning to hit the passport office for months now, but its so hard to get there on a weekday when you’re working and busy…  Passport Day is especially for you!
This is the third year for the annual National Passport Day, an event created by the State Department to give working men, women and families—who otherwise can’t make Passport offices’ limited weekday business hours—a chance to turn in their paperwork and deal with passport-related issues.
On Saturday, September 17 only, apply for your U.S. passport at a Regional Passport Agency without an appointment. You will be able to apply for standard processing (4-6 weeks) or pay an additional $60 for Expedited processing (2-3 weeks, door-to-door). Passport Day in the USA also means passport-themed events for adults and children at Regional Passport Agencies and many passport Acceptance Facilities across the country in communities like yours. If you’ve been waiting to get your passport, this is the time!