Nobody likes the hassle, but you’ll be showering yourself in praises for avoiding longer wait times and expedited handling fees.

Perri Ormont Blumberg
September 27, 2017

Fall is a time for foliage, the smell of candy corn, and dusting off the ole pumpkin tableau. Stuck in the trenches of back-to-school busyness and an intensified work schedule, it also the time we start daydreaming about winter vacations.

A Christmastime escape to Cancun? Skiing in the majestic Canadian rockies? A bucket list trip to London? Sounds like a whale of a time, y’all! Well, until you realize you’re three days out from traveling and your passport is expired.

Turns out, September is prime time for renewing your passport as swiftly as possible. The U.S. State Department has the shortest processing times between September and December, as the LA Times reports. Since an increase in passport requests and renewals bucks up during January and swells until the summer, fall proves ideal for getting the nuisance over with as painlessly as possible. The U.S. State Department has even designated September as Passport Month to hammer in the point.

Another reason to get a headstart on the passport renewal process? On January 22nd, 2018 the Real ID Act becomes implemented, and driver licenses from several states will no longer be valid at the airport for domestic travel. Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina will have to use alternate forms of ID at the airport (you can see the full list on the Department of Homeland Security’s website here).

Bottom line: Whether your passport is set to expire soon or you’re from a state impacted by the Real ID Act, now’s an ideal time for housekeeping and to fill out those renewal forms. Act now, stress less—avoid any rush processing fees to boot—and you’ll be hitting the powder or eyeing Big Ben in no time.