Expected passport pileup prompts State Department warning about - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Expected passport pileup prompts State Department warning about renewals

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(MGN photo) (MGN photo)

A number of factors has prompted the State Department to warn travelers about potential delays or denials when getting passports.

It expects a record number of people to attempt to renew passports this year, according to AAA.

That means those waiting until the last minute could find themselves in a long line or out of luck altogether.

“Anyone with travel plans in the next year who does not renew their passport well in advance will likely regret putting it off," said Dianne Bourgoin, AAA spokesperson. “Even those whose passports don’t expire until 6 months after their planned getaway should renew now because some countries will not honor passports set to expire that soon."

The State Department said it experienced a surge in passport applications in 2007. It issued more than 18 million passports as a result of the Western Travel Initiative. The initiative required a passport for travelers returning to the U.S. from Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean.

Now, all of those passports are set to expire.

“We want all travelers to check their passport expiration date and avoid last-minute stress by renewing early,” said Jamiss Sebert, Connecticut Passport Agency director.  “In anticipation of longer-than-average wait times, we have hired more employees and opened passport facilities across the country.”

AAA said it is looking to help people renew at a Travel Vacation Marketplace event on Saturday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. The event is free to the public. AAA said it is offering free passport photos on site; however, normal U.S. passport fees will apply.

The indoor event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more on what documents are needed to get a new passport, along with the cost, click here.

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