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How to Renew a U.S. Passport

Have you checked your passport’s expiration date? It’s important to keep your passport up-to-date, especially before traveling outside of the country! The U.S. passport is an official travel document issued by the Department of State that confirms a person’s identity when crossing borders between countries. This passport is valid for 10 years when issued to people 16 years of age or older. For children aged 15 or younger, it’s valid for only 5 years. If your passport is set to expire within nine months, it’s time to renew! Follow this helpful guide to learn how to renew your passport and what documents you will need.

U.S. Passport Versions

There are two versions of the United States passport: 

  • U.S. passport card: Only used for land border crossings to Canada or Mexico or sea ports-of-entry from: Canada, Mexico, The Caribbean, and Bermuda 
  • U.S. passport book: Required for all other international travel 

This article will focus on renewing your passport book, as this is the most common format used by American citizens. 

U.S. Passport Renewal Requirements

Before you begin your passport renewal process, you should ensure that this is the correct process for you. Passport renewals are done by mail. If you are applying for a passport for the first time, you must apply in person. Persons eligible to renew a passport must meet the following five requirements:

  1. You must have your current passport physically available with you and submit it with your application.
  2. The document must not have any damage other than standard wear and tear.
  3. You were 16 years of age or older when your passport was issued.
  4. Your passport was issued within the last 15 years.
  5. The passport was issued using your current legal name. If your name has since changed, you must provide the required legal evidence to show your name change.

Keep in mind: If you fail to meet any of the requirements listed here, you won’t be eligible to renew your passport. You must re-apply for your passport as if it was the first time.

Required Documents for the Renewal Process

If you meet all of the above requirements and are confident that you're eligible for the passport renewal process, you'll need to gather the following four documents and mail them to the Department of State:

Form DS-82

The passport renewal application form you will need to fill out is the DS-82 form. Please note that this form is only available in English. There are two ways to fill it out, and in both cases, you'll need to print it.

  • The first way is by filling in the necessary information on this page, which will guide you through the process. Once the form has been completed, you can download your form as a PDF, print it, sign it, and mail it.
  • The second way is to print the blank DS-82 form and fill in the necessary information by hand using black ink. Once the form has been completed, you can sign it, and mail it.

Your current passport

You must send your most recent passport with your application. In order for the Department of State to consider your passport valid for the renewal process, your issued document must meet the following requirements:

  • You were 16 years of age or older when your passport was issued.
  • Your passport was issued within the last 15 years.
  • Your passport was issued with a 10-year validity.
  • The document must not have any damage other than standard wear and tear.
  • The passport was issued using your current legal name. If your name has since changed, you must provide the required legal evidence to show your name change.

Passport Photos

You must also enclose a passport photo of yourself in the same envelope. Passport photos must meet specific requirements in order to be valid. These include:

  • It must be printed in color on photographic paper.
  • The size must be 2" x 2" (51mm x 51mm).
  • It must have been taken recently (within the last six months).
  • The background must be white.
  • You cannot wear glasses or anything that covers your face.

For more information about all the specific requirements for a passport photo, please visit the website here.

Keep in Mind: Not sure if your current passport photo is valid or don’t have the tools to take it yourself? Don’t worry, there are places to help you get official passport photos! Some passport acceptance facilities offer passport picture-taking and printing services. Visit this website, enter your zip code and select the “photo on-site” and “photo nearby” options to find facilities that take official passport photos. 

Payment

You must also enclose payment for the passport renewal along with your application, current passport, and photograph in the form of a check or money order made payable to the Department of State for the fee amount. Continue reading to learn more about the renewal fees.

What’s the Price for Renewing My Passport?

For renewals, the fees in effect for 2021 are as follows:

  • for a passport book: $110
  • for a passport card: $30
  • for a passport book and a passport card: $140

Keep in mind: If the passport renewal is urgent, you will need to pay a fee of $60 in addition to current application costs.

Where to Apply?

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There are two types of places where you can apply to renew your U.S. passport:

  • United States Postal Service (USPS) Offices: These are the official postal offices in the U.S. where letters and packages are sent. You can find your nearest office on this website.
  • Other government offices appointed by the Department of State:  Some public libraries, county clerks' offices, and other state, county, township, and municipal offices are recognized as passport application acceptance facilities by the Department of State. To find the one nearest you, click on this link.

How to Get an Emergency Passport

As of October 29, 2021, the routine passport renewal times by mail and at acceptance offices takes between 8 to 11 weeks. These processing times start once the Department of State has received your application and don't include the mailing times. 

If you need to renew your passport urgently, there's an option to pay an additional $60 for expedited service — cutting the processing time to 5 to 7 weeks. You can also request that your new document be sent by priority mail, ensuring transit in 1 to 2 days. Priority mail service costs an additional $17.56.

Keep in mind: If you plan on traveling this year, we recommend renewing your passport months ahead of your trip (between 4 - 6 months). Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, emergency passports are issued by telephone only, and these appointments are limited. To schedule an appointment, you should call 1-877-487-2778. 

FAQ

How to apply for a U.S. passport for the first time?

The procedures to apply for a passport for the first time are very similar to the renewal process. The main differences are:

  • You must apply in person.
  • You must complete the DS-11 application form instead of the DS-82.
  • You must provide proof of U.S. citizenship. (Evidence must be an original document or certified, physical copy.)
  • You must present an official ID and provide a photocopy of your ID (front and back if applicable).
  • In addition to the application fee, you must also pay a $35 execution (acceptance) fee directly to the application acceptance office.

How to complete the U.S. passport application forms

The DS-11 and DS-82 forms consist of four pages of instructions and two pages to be completed by the applicant. Both of these forms are available in English. Watch this video to learn how to fill out the DS-11 form. 

What are the passport requirements for children under age 16?

Children under age 16 must apply for a passport in person with their two parents or legal guardians. You cannot renew your child's passport using Form DS-82. Here are a few of the requirements to apply for your child’s passport:

  • Fill out the DS-11 form
  • Provide proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Provide proof of documentation that lists the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of the child applying for a passport
  • Present official IDs of the applicant’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s)
  • Show documentation of consent from the parents or legal guardians
  • Provide a passport photo (with the requirements previously mentioned)
  • Provide payment for all calculated fees

You’re now one step closer to renewing or applying for your U.S. passport! We hope that you have found all the information presented here helpful in your process. Be sure to review the validity of your current passport and the documents needed to submit your application. Remember that many procedures and processing times have been delayed due to the pandemic. 

If you have any other questions or comments on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact our team by clicking here or by sending a text message with the word SABER to 72237.