Nearly 49 million passports are set to expire within the next three years, and government officials are warning there will be a flood of renewal requests through 2018.
A U.S. law that went into effect in 2007 requires U.S. citizens to use a passport when traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. As a result, nearly 18 million passports were issued in 2007 alone, and since passports are only good for 10 years, all of these will soon be up for renewal.
That card costs only $30 for citizens who currently hold a passport book, and allows for faster border crossing by land and sea although it can’t be used for international air travel. More than 4.5 million cards have been issued since 2008.
Adding to the time crunch is the fact that many European countries won’t accept passports within six months of their expiration date.
Related: Travel alert for U.S. citizens issued until February 24th, 2016
The State Department has issued a risk travel warning alert to all U.S. citizens due to the increasing threats from terrorist groups. The State Department has reason to believe that ISIL (Da’esh), Al-Qaida, Boko Haram, and a couple of other terrorist groups are planning terrorist attacks throughout multiple regions and around the world.
Travelers should sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so the U.S. can notify them of emergencies while they’re abroad.
Related: IRS can now cancel your travel plans
The new law, entitled “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies,” states that anyone owing the IRS $50,000 or more can have his or her passport cancelled by sending a message to the State Department to do so. The Internal Revenue Service can simply cancel your passport just by alleging you owe them money. There are no courts, lawyers, or judges or anything else stopping them from doing so. The taxpayers will not have a chance to fight the decision in court before the passport is taken. If you did not already know, the IRS works in a “guilty until proven innocent” type of justice.