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Thousands of Americans have passports expiring in the next two years, and the State Department is asking travelers to be proactive in renewals to keep the process speedy for all.

In 2006 and 2007, laws changed when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect, and for the first time Americans needed passports when returning by air from the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada and Bermuda.

In those years, there was a surge of people applying for new passports — and all of those 10-year passports are due for renewal over the next 24 months.

To avoid a backlog, the State Department is encouraging people to send in their renewals as early as possible this year to ensure they are renewed and returned quickly.

Additionally, the State Department is reminding travelers that many countries now enforcing a requirement of needing at least six months’ validity on a passport for entry into their countries, another reason to make sure renewals are submitted early.

For more information on how to renew your passport, click here.

Click here for The New York Time’s coverage on the subject.