If your United States passport comes up for renewal in 2017 or 2018 you should begin the process to renew it as soon as possible. The U.S. State Department has been warning travelers for more than a year now about the possibility of longer wait times for passport processing. The State Department recommends renewing your passport at least nine months before it expires, and routine passport processing can take up to six weeks. Additionally there are at least fifty countries that require U.S. citizens to have at least six more months left on their passport in order to travel there.
The increase in demand for U.S. passports at this particular time is in large part due to the 2007 Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative which made it necessary for U.S. citizens returning from Mexico and Canada to show a passport. Now, ten years later, all of the passports acquired at that time will be expiring. The need for first time passports has also increased because of the Real ID Act, which requires residents of certain states to show an alternative form of identification for air travel, this goes into effect January 22, 2018. It is easy to renew your U.S. passport, current passport holders can renew by mail on the State Department website.