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Feds: Renew your passport now or face delays

When the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative was rolled out in 2006 it led to a lot of people getting passports. Now, those passports are about to expire.

The initiative, and its complete debacle of a roll out, created much confusion. Do I need a passport to go on a cruise to Alaska? What about a cruise to the Caribbean or a road trip to Canada?

The answers were all over the place and the initiative was first implemented, then delayed, before finally being implemented again. Even as recently as a couple of years ago it still wasn't clear who needed a passport when boarding a cruise ship.

The much maligned WHTI is still the gift that keeps on giving. From the NYT:

"If you have a United States passport expiring any time in 2016, the State Department has a message for you: Renew it now.

The department anticipates a surge in passport demand throughout this year, and officials hope to avoid a crush that could leave some Americans fuming in frustration with no passport in hand on the day they planned to travel outside the country.

Officials are expecting a flood of renewals of 10-year passports issued in 2006 and 2007. The latter was the year when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect, for the first time requiring passports for Americans returning by air from Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda. As millions of citizens scrambled to apply for their first passports, backlogs swelled and many were stranded."

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›

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