Nearly 49 million passports are set to expire within the next three years. That is expected to create enormously long lines for photos and delays in the renewal process.
To combat this influx, UPS ( announced last year that 1,000 of it stores would allow travelers to avoid those lines and go online to schedule a time to have their passport photos taken. Now UPS is expanding that service to all of its 4,500 stores across the country. )
According to a UPS spokesperson, it’s the only company that allows customers to schedule photo appointments online.
The spokesperson also said that in January 2016, UPS reported an 8% increase in passport services over January 2015.
U.S. government officials have been warning travelers to renew early as turnaround times are longer than usual — around six weeks.
Brenda Sprague, an official at the state department, has said incorrect photos are the most common reason for passport delays.
In addition to UPS, passport photos can also be taken at USPS locations, FedEx ( stores and most public libraries. )
Passports can be renewed by mail or in person for expedited service.
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The avalanche of renewals is the result of a 2007 federal law that requires U.S. citizens to carry a passport when traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
Adding to the influx is the fact that most European countries don’t accept passports within six months of their expiration dates.