Passports may be faster to get this year, officials say

Wednesday, March 5th 2008, 6:37 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

New laws that required anyone traveling out of the country by air to carry a passport triggered a massive backlog in passport applications last summer. The backlog caused some travelers to wait months for their passport, even missing vacations all together.

"I really don't think it's going to be anything like it was last year," said Angie Hendricks of Bentley Hedges Travel Agency.

Backlog or not, the travel agent still advises if your plans include traveling out of the country this summer plan ahead.

"I think the time now is three to four weeks to get your passport back so right now is a good time to get it done," Hendricks said.

Especially if you're planning a cruise, you'll miss the boat if you don't have a passport after June 1.

"A passport will be required when you take a cruise before you could get by with a birth certificate and a photo ID," Hendricks said.

Even if you have your sights set on Mexico or beyond for spring break, agents at Bentley Hedges can expedite the passport application process, but it will cost you.

"We can still get a passport for spring break but it's going to be costly because of all the extra fees that are required for that," Hendricks said.

Angie said that expedited process will cost about $150 and you could have your passport in about five to eight days.

If you want to learn more about travel laws and how to apply for a passport, visit the U.S. Department of State's Web site at