I am planning a family trip to Italy for spring break in March 2017. My daughter’s passport is good through August. That’ll work, right?

Not exactly. It is counterintuitive, but we’ll need to renew her passport before we go. Italy — like many countries in Europe — requires a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the dates of travel there.

Here’s another surprise, this one a little more pleasant. The State Department is offering faster processing times through November. The wait is usually six weeks, but this month, it drops to four to five weeks for routine processing. Expedited service brings that down to two to three weeks.

That’s a little present for procrastinators traveling internationally for the winter holidays. They still have time to apply for their passport.

Because the number of applications will pick up in the new year, this is also a fine time for spring breakers to renew or obtain a passport.

Pull yours out now to check the expiration date.

How do you know if your passport will get you turned away at your destination — or, more likely, the airport before you even board the plane (airlines check)? Go to travel.state.gov, which provides passport validation requirements by country.

My daughter’s passport certainly wouldn’t pass muster as we head to Rome. So we’ll be making a trip soon to Walgreens for a passport photo and then a passport processing center with the three of us; for children under 16, both parents must consent to the passport.

Another important tidbit regarding passport applications: As of Nov. 1, eyeglasses are not permitted in passport photos, so remove those specs before you mug for the camera. If you’re wearing glasses in your current passport photo, there is no need to renew. Existing passports are still valid.

For more information on passports and forms, go to travel.state.gov.


Send your questions or tips to Travel Editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on Twitter: @kerriwestenberg.