Passport Renewal Guide

As an American, your passport is your international identity, and renewing your passport is crucial to ensuring that you can keep traveling the world. If you are confused as to how to get your passport renewed, then this post is for you. In this post, we have laid out steps on how you can renew your passport.

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How To Renew Your US Passport By Mail:

Before we dive into the steps, we would like to state that it is advised that you renew your passport at least 8 months before it expires. This is because the U.S Customs Border Protection requires that your passport is valid for at least 6 months before you are allowed to leave or enter the country.

That being said, certain criteria have to be met before a person can be eligible to apply for passport renewal via mail. These criteria include:

  • It must be in your possession to submit the application
  • It must be undamaged; passports with normal wear and tear can be processed via mail.
  • The passport was issued to you when you were 16 or older
  • Issued within the last 15 years
  • Was issued in your current name or you can document the name change

Applicants that intend on renewing their passport via mail should answer “yes” to all the above-listed statements. All these requirements are from the US Travel.State.Gov website and are subject to change at the department’s discretion.

Once you are eligible to renew your passport via mail, then ensure to follow these 7 under-listed steps to get the passport processed:

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1.Required and Optional Documents

There are three required documents you must submit when renewing your passport via mail; these include:

  • Form DS-82: You are required to download and fill out the DS-84 form from the Department of State website. Ensure that the form is printed as a single-sided form.
  • Most Recent Passport: Ensure to include your most recent valid passport that meets all the above-listed requirements. Note that the passport you will submit (the almost expired one) will be returned to you in a separate mail from the new passport to be issued to you.

2.Name Change Document (Optional)

If your name has changed under any legal circumstance and you wish to have your new and official name printed on your new passport, you will be required to provide a certified copy of a legal name change document. The Department of State will return the certified copy of the name change document to you in a different mail.

3.Photo

Applicants must include one approved photo when applying for a passport renewal. The photo must meet the following requirements:

  • It must be taken within the last 6 months
  • It should be in color and should be a clear image of your full face with no filters or edits.
  • The photo should not contain eyeglasses. If you have any eye condition that requires that you wear your glasses, then ensure to include a signed doctor’s note.
  • The background of the picture should be off-white with no distractions.
  • Should not contain headwear or hats unless for religious purposes. If you’re wearing headwear for medical purposes you must include a doctor’s note with their signature. Also, if you are wearing headwear for religious purposes, ensure to include a signed document that indicates that as well.
  • No headphones, earbuds, or any wireless ear device.

Note, you will be required to staple your photo on your application. You must use four staples in total to staple your photo vertically on all four corners of your picture.

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4.Renewal Fee

You will be required to pay a fee for the renewal of your passport. A detailed summary of the fee structure is available on the Department of State’s website. Also, individuals who might want a detailed explanation of fees can use the fee calculator as well.

5.Mailing Your Documents

Once your fee is paid and your documents are ready, it is time to mail them. When mailing your passport for renewal, ensure to do the following:

  • You must mail your passport and supporting documents via the United States Postal Service (USPS) or Canada Post (for individuals in Canada). If you use any other service, your application will be returned without being processed.
  • We recommend you get an envelope large enough to fill all your documents. You can request an envelope from USPS.
  • Ensure that the mail is addressed to the right recipient. This will depend on the state you are in, and the type of service you choose to opt for.

For expedited service, ensure to write “EXPEDITE” on your mailing envelope. Also, the expedited service will cost $60 extra.

How To Renew Your Passport In Person:

For individuals who do not answer “yes” to all the questions required for renewal of their passport via mail, you have the option of renewing your passport in person.

1.Find A Passport Center Near You

There are quite several legitimate passport centers across the United States where expired or damaged passport holders can get their passports processed. If you have no idea where to find any passport acceptance facility, you can use the passport facility search page of the U.S. Department of State to find the closest facility. near you.

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Once you find the nearest facility, we recommend that you call their number and book an appointment. You can also schedule an appointment online.

2.Get Your Required Document Ready

Before your appointment date, ensure to have the following documents ready:

  • Download and fill out the DS-11 form. You will be required to submit it on the day of your appointment. Do not sign the form unless explicitly instructed to do so.
  • Any proof of US citizenship: This can be any original or certified copy of your U.S.-issued birth certificate, old and undamaged passport, certificate of naturalization, or certificate of citizenship. For U.S. citizens and non-citizens with children abroad, you will be required to submit a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA).
  • Current ID (Driver’s license or any federal-issued ID card).
  • A colored photo; many passport acceptance facilities offer a photo service.

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3.Special Situations

If you fall under any of the categories we will list below, then you will be required to bring additional documentation or observe certain procedures in addition to what we have already listed above:

  • If your passport is lost or stolen
  • Requesting for an expedited or diplomatic or any official issuance.

4.Fees

In-person applicants will be required to pay two fees:

  • A passport processing fee: This is paid to the U.S. Department of State, and can be paid with credit cards, debit cards, exact amount in cash, banker’s draft, or by check.
  • Acceptance Facility Fee: In-person applicants will be required to pay an additional $35 to the acceptance facility together with the passport processing fee.
  • Applicants can request an expedited service which will cost an additional $60.

For more information about passport fees, we recommend you read the passport fee page of the Department of State.

5.Application Submission

Once all your documents have been submitted and the required fees have been paid, the acceptance facility will deliver your passport to the DOS for the processing of your passport renewal. You can track the progress of your application by using the Online Passport Tracking System.

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How To Renew Your Passport Online:

Renewing your passport online has been paused by the Department of State; however, applicants that submitted their online application can track and manage the progress of their application by logging into their MyTravelGov account.