A couple of years ago, my sister and I were in Boston for our friend’s baby shower. It happened to be on the same weekend as our other friend’s 30th birthday party taking place in Mexico. Upon learning the two big events were the same day, we decided to do both.
We flew to Boston, attended the epic baby shower, and planned to fly to Mexico the following afternoon. However, the day before our flight to Boston, my sister noticed that her passport expired. Panicked, knowing she wouldn’t be let into Mexico without a valid passport, she marched over to the United States Embassy in Los Angeles to see if she could get a same-day replacement. They were closed.
We decided to fly to Boston anyways and beg the consulate the morning of our flight. Shockingly, 4 hours later, she had a renewed passport, and we could peacefully get to Mexico. After sharing this story with friends and family, we found out this isn’t always the case. The process of renewing a United States passport can be complicated and frustrating, taking up to 8-11 weeks to process (this was pre-pandemic too).
Often, you’ll even have to fill out a plethora of forms and go for an in-person appointment in order to make it happen. But luckily, the President has picked up on this tiresome situation, and introduced online passport renewals.
This move was part of an executive order to transform federal customer experience and delivery service — to rebuild trust in the government. The new online renewal system doesn’t require any physical documents to be mailed, either. A huge win for both travelers and the travel industry.
But there’s a con with the online system. People are a bit concerned about the lack of privacy. But considering we shop online, bank online, and date online, experts don’t see this as a problem.
Prior to this declaration, to get a US passport, you’d have to fill out a DS-82 (renewal application), provide a passport-sized photo, and pay fees. However, not everyone even qualifies for this type of mail renewal, so some would have to go in-person, anyway. And in a global pandemic, with many offices at reduced capacities, there’s an insane backlog and processing time.
One warning to keep note of, though: Make sure the URL seems legit, and you are not handing over your personal information to an imposter. Oh, and don’t complete an application on public WiFi, to avoid hackers. For that matter, never use free public WiFi.
So what do you think, are you excited for the upcoming travel change?
In case you were wondering how to travel by points, we got you covered.