I know, right? This is about as interesting as watching the clock tick, especially when there are so many other exciting topics I'd like to share.
Yet, to get you to the most popular cities, top resorts and plan the most exciting experiences in the best places to travel in 2017, you need a passport. And if you need to renew your passport, you should probably do so far in advance. Please be aware of some changes:
Passport Applications will increase (again).
Of course, because MORE people are traveling, but also because the 2007 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative mandating that Americans entering the U.S. by air from Canada, Mexico and Bermuda would be required to have a passport, it's ten years later, and all of these documents are expiring.
The Real ID Act implementation in 2018
There are minimum standards required pursuant to The REAL ID Act. Federal agencies are prohibited from accepting state issued IDs that are non-compliant. For more details click here.
Passports will be more secure
We expect to see "next-generation" passport debut in late 2017. This next generation passport will have a chip embedded on the information page protected by polycarbonate coating; passport number will be laser cut as tapered, perforated holes through pages; and an artwork upgrade such as a watermark, tactile features and more optically variable inks. This advance will help in the event that your passport gets wet, bent or stolen.
Stricter Rules for application
As of November 1, 2016 glasses are no longer allowed in passport photos, unless you present a doctor's note along with your application.
As of 2017, passport pages will have numbers on them (some countries will not accept passports with fewer than four pages remaining.
Renewal may get easier
Rumor has it that renewing passports on-line is in the works. I don't think I will hold my breath for 2017.