A flood of passports were issued nine years ago — now they’re all soon to expire. Here’s how to beat the rush.

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Remember the Great Passport Disaster of 2007?

If you were one of the 18 million U.S. citizens trying to get a passport before the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative went into effect, you probably do. The initiative meant that you could no longer use any “official ID” to return to the United States from anywhere in the eponymous hemisphere, and that meant all the popular destinations — from Montreal and Quebec to the Caribbean and Mexico.

The initiative was a result of a 2004 act of Congress strengthening anti-terrorism measures post 9/11. Despite several years to prepare for the first phase — affecting air travel — to go into effect on Jan. 23, 2007, the tsunami of passport applications soon created a mess in every way. Americans were confused, processors were buried in paperwork, deadlines were moved, and vacations and travel plans were parked in limbo.

It may seem like only yesterday. But it wasn’t. It will soon be the 10th anniversary of the Great Passport Disaster.

All those hard-earned, brand-spanking-new passports of 2006 and 2007? Soon to be sort of worthless if you try to travel internationally.

Because after 10 years, passports expire. Which means a new mass movement to renew.

Will it be Passport Disaster, the Sequel?

We hope not, but the State Department seems to think it may not be pretty.

Officials say their Passport Office has been experiencing increased demand for renewals in the past year or two. Applications for passports have generally surged since 2007, with increases of several million every year. The agency issued 14 million passports in 2014, the last date for which totals are available, and the increased demand is expected to continue through 2018.

As a pre-emptive measure in September, the State Department launched the Apply Early campaign, turning our thoughts to that little blue document.

The State Department anticipates the crunch will begin in 2016 and says processing will take longer with the start of the new year. The current wait time for a passport is four to six weeks, but it could jump to as many as 10 weeks or more.

Prices and fees have been raised: Your first passport is $135 (was $100); renewal is $110 (was $75). Adding visa and other pages is $82 (it was free). There’s even a new fee if you’d like formally to renounce your U.S. citizenship: Once free, it’s now $450.

The Apply Early campaign gets passports back on the public radar at a good time because turnaround time is quickest from September to December.

That’s one hint from the State Department’s Pro Tips list (travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/information/apply-early.html). Here are some of my other favorite points to remember about the passport process:

• First, since you’re thinking about passports, expiration dates are but one no-go scenario. Many countries require you have at least six months left on your passport before they’ll let you in. Then there are those countries that require that you have two blank pages — or two visa pages (even two facing visa pages) for entry.

• Ten years is not when your passport turns into a pumpkin. Well, it may be about as useful after 10 years, but you can renew your passport before 10 years is up. Conversely, you have 15 years from the date of issue to renew without beginning the process all over again.

• A child’s passport (issued to anyone under 16) expires after five years.

• Speaking of children: If you’re behind on child support, you may be unable to get a passport.

• Especially if you’re a frequent traveler, request the supersize version of the U.S. passport by checking the box on your application for “52 pages.” The basic model comes with 28, and the 52-pager doesn’t cost a dime extra. But when you run out of those pages down the road, it’ll cost $82 to get more blank pages added later.

• Reasons for delay? Along with massive amounts of OPP (other people’s paperwork), you can slow progress if you don’t do things the right way.

1. As mentioned, applicable fees are by check/money order only, made out to “U.S. Department of State.” Applicant’s full name and date of birth must be “typed or printed” on the front of the check.

2. You only need to send one passport photo. Along with your face being 2 inches high etc., the prescribed method is to staple your photo to the application. Use four staples vertically in the corners as close to the outer edges as possible. And of course … do not bend the photo.

3. Send it to the right address. For expedited service, send to:

National Passport Processing Center, Box 90955, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955. And write “EXPEDITE” clearly on the mailing envelope.

For routine service, address your envelope to:

The National Passport Processing Center, Box 90155, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155.

They “strongly recommended” you use an envelope large enough to fit the application without folding. “This will help to protect the contents of your mailing from the elements throughout the delivery process.”

It’s also strongly recommended that you use a form of delivery that can be tracked.