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Avoid delays, get passports early
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U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston advises anyone planning to travel out of the country this year to apply for a passport as early as possible due to delays in processing.
“Getting a passport used to take six weeks, but now it is taking almost three months,” Kingston said. “Even paying the additional $60 to expedite a passport does not guarantee two-week delivery anymore.  Now it takes a month.”
Because of new regulations requiring a passport if you are coming into the U.S. by plane, Passport Services has been inundated with applications.
Since January, any person traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda must have a valid passport.
“And beginning next year, if you leave the U.S., you will need a passport to come back in even if you are on a ship or driving your car,” Kingston said.
To obtain a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to a passport acceptance facility, such as the post office, with two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship (a certified birth certificate or naturalization certificate), and a valid form of photo identification such as a driver’s license.
A passport can be renewed by mail if you have your most recent passport and it was issued within the past 15 years. You had to have been over age 16 when it was issued and still have the same name, or can legally document your name change.
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