The Passport Renewal Process
Summertime is almost here and for many people, that means vacation plans. If you plan on traveling this summer and may be leaving the US, you will want to make sure that your US passport is valid through the remainder of the summer. If it is not, you will want to renew your passport. The steps of US passport renewal are quite simple.
You can renew your passport by mail. However, you can only do so if you meet all these requirements:
- You were issued your passport a maximum of 15 years ago (or less)
- Your passport is not badly damaged
- You were at least 16 years old when you received your current passport
- The name on your current passport is the same name you use now or you have documentation for a legal name change
If you meet all of these requirements, you can start your passport renewal by downloading and completing Form DS-82 (Application for Passport by Mail). Following the directions carefully and send the form, along with your current passport, a recent passport photo, and your fee to the Department of State.
If you do not meet the requirements for renewing your US passport by mail, you must apply for passport renewal in person at a passport office. You will need to arrive with all the documentation you need to apply for your passport in person. If you are not in the US and need to renew your passport, visit your local U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. If you are in Canada and need to renew your US passport, however, you can apply for your passport renewal through the mail. However, you will need to read the instructions with Form DS-82 (Application for Passport by Mail) carefully for your case, as there are special instructions for applicants applying for passport renewal outside the US.
In some cases, you will need a passport quickly because you will be traveling soon. In these cases, you will need to arrange for an expedited process through a Regional Passport Agency. You will need to go through this process if you need your passport in less than two weeks. In some cases, you can make an appointment with a passport agency and get your passport very quickly. However, regional passport agencies can be very busy at this time of year and you may need to wait for an appointment. As well, there are limited numbers of regional passport agencies, so you may need to travel to renew your passport. In general, you can usually avoid this problem by applying early and by completing your passport renewal forms correctly so that the process is not delayed.