6 Passport Changes You Should Know

from Cruise Radio.com:

With international travel on an upswing among cruisers, getting a passport is on the to-do list for a lot of travelers. Lately, there have been a lot of changes and things you need to be aware of when getting ready to apply (or renew) your passport. Here, we’ve gathered six of them so the process is as smooth as possible for you.

1. The Price Could Go Up

If your passport expires soon, now is the time to renew under the current cost. Currently, the price of a passport is $135 ($110 application fee + $25 acceptance fee). With new protocols like REAL ID Act coming and new data chips rolling out, the increase will be passed on to you.

2. Surge in Passport Applications

The number of expiring passports goes back to 2007 when the federal Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative law was signed and put into effect by the 9/11 Commission, requiring valid US passports for air travel to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.

Over the next year, there will be a surge in passport renewals with people who got passports in 2007. This could backlog the application approval process. If you’re going to get a passport, you may want to apply sooner rather than later. According to the passport office, they see the biggest surge of applicants in March. The typical passport processing time is six weeks.

3. Protected Data Chip inside Passport

The passport will get a facelift by putting a protected data chip inside of your booklet; this will protect your passport and the chip containing your sensitive information. This will also help protect you if your passport is lost or stolen, helping eliminate identity theft.

4. Many Passport Design Changes

According to Conde Nast Traveler, Sometime in 2017, the passport number will also be laser cut as tapered, perforated holes through pages—just one of several components of the next-generation passport. You’ll also see artwork upgrades, and new security features such as a watermarks. Some designs on pages will be raised, and ink could appear to be different colors.

5. You Can No Longer Wear Glasses in Photos

Applicants must now remove their glasses for their passport photos. Why? Last year, over 200,000 passport applicants submitted poor quality photos or other non-compliant ones, which delayed their application process. This change means that those that really need their passport or visa quickly, will have a better chance at a faster process when they need it.

6. Take Your Passport Photo with an App

Passport Photo Creator – which is available for iOS devices and Android users – allows you to skip the lines and take your own passport photo. Using biometric technology, the app analyzes each photo and notifies you within seconds of whether or not your photo is compliant with U.S. Department of State passport photo regulations.

More Info?

Details, pricing, and passport regulations can be found on the Department of States’ website.

21 Answers

I don't understand the no glasses thing. People who wear glasses look very different without them.

It is probably for the same reason that it is no longer allowed for driver's licenses, a facial recognition thing. Apparently, it is easier to still get the recognition with glasses added to the face than the other way around and some people change the shapes of their frames too often (like those who dye their hair every month).

Thanks for the thread. Good information here!

Also, my glasses caused a glare on my photo, so the clerk had me take them off for my picture. Sometimes the customs officers will ask me to remove my glasses when they are checking the photo.

Getting our passports was one of the best decisions we ever made. It gives us a added sense of security when we travel and we get through the lines quicker than we did with birth certificate and driver's license. Some of the former Funvillians who post here were responsible for persuading me that it was a wise decision.

Kentucky is one state whose residents will be required to have a passport for domestic flights beginning in 2018, as well as for civilian entry to a military base and a few other things. That's because our driver's licenses are still issued by the county instead of the state, and progress has not been made in complying with the Real ID act. There is not expected to be another extension granted.

Canadians have been encouraged to have passports even for domestic flights, and it's been mandatory for years.

The gal taking our new passport photos a few weeks ago had trouble with DH -----she couldn't get rid of the glare from the top of his bald head.

I had to remove my glasses when I went for my marriage license 49 years ago. I now never wear my glasses anyway for any photo so I am OK with this. Wonder if you are allowed to smile for your passport picture? I look mad if I don't smile so I am unhappy about this requirement. We take our passport photos at home with or own camera and never had a problem. We carefully follow all the directives about size and backgrounds.

When we got our passports at the end of 2015, we were told it was now acceptable to smile.

We renewed our passports I November and were not allowed to smile. We were told we needed to show a neutral pose.

My original passport photo was taken in the winter when I have a full beard. Being an electrician, I looked disheveled, tired, and not smiling. Add to that it was in B&W, and you have........the face of every Wanted for Terrorism poster in the FBI.




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