If you are planning a trip abroad and are anything like me, you're lucky if you check the status of your passport a month or two ahead, counting on the post office to zip your renewal along if need be. Well, you'd better not wait, as passport renewal has become a major headache
. The backlog is apparently the result of new rules that went into effect in January, which greatly increased applications (because passports are now required for visiting Canada and Mexico) and may have led to stricter screening. The images here are of multi-block lines
outside the Philadelphia office, which is mighty grim. If you think you might be travelling in the next year or so, you might want to start the process well ahead (although possibly after the summer rush), both to avoid any last-minute problems and to put off dealing with privacy-invasive technological changes (see last item here
) planned for the near future.