It's a record year for processing US passport applications

NEW YORK  — The U.S. State Department expects 20.5 million applications for new and renewed passports this year, and that will be a record number.

The busy year is no surprise. Adult U.S. passports must be renewed every 10 years, and it was 10 years ago that a new law went into effect requiring passports for Americans traveling to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. That new law resulted in a surge of passport requests in 2007, along with extraordinary delays that stretched into months for some individuals.

This year the State Department says it is beating promised turnaround times of six to eight weeks for processing passports. Many travelers say they have gotten their passports processed in just a few weeks.