Ten years ago the US government implemented the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, requiring anyone traveling into the US by air, land, or sea to present a passport or other acceptable document that proves identity and citizenship. In practical terms, this meant that travelers coming back into the US from Canada and Mexico had to show a passport or similar document at the border, where previously a driver’s license would suffice.
This year the WHTI celebrates its tenth anniversary, which means the passports obtained to comply with the initiative ten years ago are expiring. Right now the State Department estimates wait times for routine renewals at around six weeks, however they anticipate higher renewals through 2018 and corresponding processing delays. For detailed steps on how to renew your passport see the US Passports and International Travel site. Keep in mind that many countries deny entry to passports with less than three or six months remaining before expiry. Don’t wait to renew, or you could face increased costs for expedited processing..