Did you know the U.S. government recommends you send your passport application in a special envelope? Or that losing a lot of weight may trigger the need for renewal? Here are nine impressive, surprising, and vital facts about U.S. passports. You never know when one might apply to you.
Impressive: Passports Are on the Rise
In 1996, the U.S. Department of State issued 5.5 million passports. That number has since been trending upward, reaching just under 21 million in 2019 (with a dip to around 11 million in 2020, likely due to the emergency halt of passport issuance in response to COVID-19). Even when you factor in the population increase, that’s a heartening rise in the number of people eager to get out and explore the world.
Surprising: Protect Shipping Your Passport with Tyvek
Think you can use any old packaging and shipping method when you’re sending in your old passport for renewal? Think again. The Department of State recommends that applicants use a trackable shipping method, such as Priority Mail Express, to keep tabs on their application and know when it arrives safely at its destination. It is also strongly recommended that applicants mail their documents in a sturdy envelope such as a Tyvek envelope, which will protect against the rough and tumble world of postal transit.
Vital: You May Need to Renew Sooner Than You Think
Don’t take your passport’s expiration date at face value. Some countries have a six-month or three-month passport validity rule that requires your passport to be valid for a certain amount of time after your date of entry. My professional travel advisor advice? Just don't take the chance. Make certain your passport is valid for at least six months after your trip return date - that's one less detail to worry about or that may cause a great trip to be spoiled.