Changes in US Passport in 2017 – Things You Should be Aware of

People have been hearing about changes that are to come in the US passport. Since no exact information is available, people are apprehensive about the changes that will come to the little blue book. One thing is for sure that the blue book remains the blue book only. No changes are coming in the looks and appearance of the US passport. Mentioned below are certain things that you must know about the changes in the US passport:

  • US passports will have high security features

It is common belief that US passport is the most secured passport in the world. But it is not so. You might be surprised to know that there are many countries in the world, which are advanced than US regarding biometric security. To bridge the lapse, various kinds of measures are being implemented so that US passports become stronger and more secured. There have been discussions of the ‘Next Generation’ passport since 2015 and such passports might be seen towards the end of 2017.

These passports will have embedded data chip on the information page of the candidate. This chip will be protected by a polycarbonate coating. The coating will prevent damage of the passport from bending, tearing or getting wet. Even in case of the passport getting stolen, the thief will not be able to use it for any purpose as faking identity is impossible with the passport. Another feature is that the passport number will be laser cut and tapered and perforated through the passport pages. Other prominent and interesting attributes of the ‘Next Generation’ passport include more ‘optically variable inks’, watermark, ‘tactile features’ etc. Viewing the passport from different angles will lead to seeing different colors.

  • Numbers on passports for keeping track of renewal time

In 2017, the passport pages will be numbered. This will help the travelers in keeping a track as how much time is left for them for passport renewal. There are countries, which do not accept passports, which have less than 6 months for expiry. Controlling the pages is a great step by the US State Department.

  • Great increase in passport applications

There are two main factors that are influencing the large numbers of passport applications in US. In 2007, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative required US citizens to have passports for traveling to and from Mexico, Canada and Bermuda. This directive led to massive surge in passport applications. 2017 is 10 years after 2007 and all the passports that were made in 2007 will come for renewal. It is expected that about 20 million passports will come for renewal in 2017.

The second reason is January 2018 implementation of the Real ID Act (about which there are loads of confusions). Travelers are highly confused whether their driver’s license will be accepted as valid ID proof for domestic travel. To stay out of the confusion, many people are getting their passports done to avoid all kinds of confusions altogether.

It is evident from these points that the US State Department will be quite busy with new passport applications and passport renewal almost all throughout 2017.