How to Renew a Passport as a US Citizen

If you’re planning on traveling outside of the country anytime soon, then you need to make sure that your passport is up to date. If your passport has expired, then you’re going to have to make sure that you renew it before your trip. Some people aren’t exactly sure about how to go about renewing a passport in the US. Luckily, the process isn’t all that difficult when you figure out what you have to do.

Today we are going to show you exactly how to go about renewing your US passport. As long as you follow this easy to understand guide, you’ll be able to get this finished fast. Just be sure to pay attention to the steps and to grab everything that we tell you that you’re going to need. You’ll have your renewed passport in your hands soon enough.

What You Need to Renew Your Passport

  • An application form DS-82
  • An eligible passport book
  • Proof of name change (if your name has changed)
  • A color passport photo
  • A check or money order to pay the fee

What You Need to Renew Child’s Passport

  • All items listed above
  • Proof of your relationship to your child
  • Both parents must appear in person or the absent parent must sign a consent form

Eligibility Requirements to Renew a Passport

You need to make sure that you understand the eligibility requirements before moving forward. There are going to be some instances where you will not be able to renew your passport. This will mean that you will need to apply for a new one, instead. Let’s go over the situations where you will be ineligible to renew your passport so that you’ll know whether or not this will impact you.

how to renew a passport

If your passport was issued more than fifteen years ago, then you’ll need to get a new one. Too much time has passed for you to renew your passport. Also, if your passport was issued before your sixteenth birthday, you’re not going to be eligible to renew it. Keep this in mind, and try to determine exactly when your passport was issued.

Those who have had their passport damaged, stolen, or lost will also not be eligible for renewal. You have to have access to your physical passport for it to be renewed. Those who cannot provide a legal document for a name change will be ineligible for renewal, too. You’ll need a document such as a marriage license to prove that your name has been legally changed.

how to renew a us passport

There Are Several Ways to Renew a Passport

There are actually going to be several ways to go about renewing a passport. You will want to pay close attention to the following sections. Depending on your situation, you may have to use one of the renewal methods to obtain your renewed passport. Different situations will mean that certain methods may not be available for you to use.

Luckily, all of the passport renewal processes are very streamlined. Renewing a US passport is not something that is strenuous or difficult in any way. As long as you have the necessary documentation and the ability to pay the fee, you will be able to get your passport. Just make sure that you use the appropriate method to get this accomplished.

Renewing Your Passport by Mail

One of the most convenient things that you can do is to choose to renew your passport by mail. This is going to allow you to take care of things in a very simple way. You must have met all of the eligibility requirements mentioned earlier. Also, you need to live in either the United States or Canada to be eligible for mail-in renewal.

All you have to do to make this happen is to fill out your form DS-82. You will then need to submit the most recent US passport that has been issued to you. Provide a color passport photo that meets all of the necessary requirements. If your name has changed, then you will need to include legal proof of your name change to have the renewal request go through.

Once this is done, you have to calculate the fees for renewing your passport. After figuring out the appropriate fee for the type of passport that you’re renewing, you’ll need to include a check or money order. Checks or money orders should be payable to the “U.S. Department of State.” You will also need to make sure that you print the full name and birthdate of the applicant on the front of your check or money order.

Those who are living in Canada also need to ensure that personal checks or money orders are payable in US dollars. Canadian dollars are not going to work for renewing a US passport. One convenient way to ensure that things are fine is to look at the routing number on the check or money order. US checks and money orders are going to have a 9-digit routing number.

Mail in the Application

With all of the above steps completed, you just need to mail your application in. Those who are living in the United State need to make sure that they’re using the United States Postal Service. Those who are living in Canada will need to use the Canada Post. Other delivery services will not be accepted, so ensure that you’re using the appropriate methods to successfully renew your passport.

Check the official government website to get the proper address that you need to send your application to. This is going to differ depending on where you live. Those who live in California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and Texas will send their applications to one location. Those who live in all other states and Canada will send their applications to another location.

There is also an expedited passport service that has a completely different address. The expedited address is for all states and Canada. This is what you will be using if you need your passport in a hurry due to some type of emergency. It may also be possible to renew your passport in-person for certain situations.

Renewing In-Person Due to an Emergency

If you need to travel outside of the country due to an emergency, then it will be possible to renew your passport in person. You will need to make an appointment with a passport agency or center. This can be done online, or you can make a phone call to set everything up. Of course, this is usually only an option when circumstances allow for it.

Those who need to travel immediately during a life or death situation will be able to attempt to expedite the process by renewing the passport in-person. It is also possible to try to expedite the passport process when you need to travel internationally in two or three weeks. You will need to bring proof of travel to your appointment at the passport agency or center.

Normal Expedited Passport Renewal

Normal expedited passport renewal is going to involve paying more money to get things done faster. If you need your passport a bit faster than normal, then you can make use of expedited renewal by mail. You will need to clearly mark the word “expedite” on the outside of the envelope when mailing your renewal application. It is also possible to pay for faster shipping, allowing for 1-2 day delivery shipping once things have been processed.

Make Use of a Passport Expeditor Company (Optional)

You can also choose to enlist the services of a passport expeditor company if you so choose. These are companies that help people by taking care of expedited passport applications for you. This can get you a new passport in 24 hours if you’re in a hurry. It can also make the process easier and will allow you to sit back and let the professionals do their thing. If you feel confused by the process, then this may be a valid option that will make things easier for you.

This is completely optional, though. You definitely do not need the help of an expeditor company or courier service to get your passport fast. You’ll be able to use the normal expedient process to get your passport in the shortest amount of time. This is more about convenience and whether you feel like you need help.

renew a passport

Passport Renewal for Those Living Outside of the US

Passport renewal is different for those who are living outside of the US. US citizens who are living in Canada are an exception to this rule, as they can pretty much go through the same process as people living in one of the fifty states. Those living in other countries will need to go to a nearby U.S embassy or consulate. They will be able to provide you with the necessary forms and information about what needs to be done.

When Should You Renew Your Passport?

Ideally, you want to renew your passport around nine months before it is going to expire. If you renew your passport ahead of time, then you will never have a period of time where you do not have a valid passport. This can prevent you from encountering situations where you’re unable to travel abroad. It is best to keep an eye on the date when your passport is going to expire so that you can act accordingly.

As long as you do this ahead of time, you will be ready to get your passport before you will need to do any traveling. Those who are proactive will never have any issues keeping a valid passport. You’re able to renew your passport through the mail, and the process doesn’t take all that long. So long as you’re doing everything right, this is going to be easy to pull off.

A Few Extra Tips

When you’re renewing your passport, it may be beneficial for you to get a larger book than usual. If you travel often enough, then you might find that you’re filling up your passport book too fast. This can lead to problems and may cause you to need a new book sooner than you would like. Luckily, this can be fixed by getting a 52-page book.

All you need to do to get a 52-page passport book is check a box at the top of your application. There should be a small box marked “52 page” somewhere near the top of the form. Make sure that you check it, and you will receive a bigger book than usual. This is perfect for those who travel outside of the country on a regular basis.

A Reminder About Passport Fees

It’s also good to know that passport fees are completely non-refundable. If you wind up sending in money for your passport, and it is rejected for some reason, you’re not going to get that money back. This money is going to be collected by the law, and they will retain it without reissuing it to you. This is another reason that it is imperative for you to get everything right when filling out your forms and providing the necessary documentation.

Our Last Thoughts

After taking a look at everything that you need to do to renew your passport, it should be much easier to understand. The process is actually really straightforward, and you’re likely going to be able to get everything done by mail. Just take the time to make sure that you’re doing things right. This allows you to avoid any potential pitfalls, and you’ll have your passport in hand faster.

Remember that it is possible to expedite your passport if there is an emergency travel situation. If you need to travel internationally in a few weeks, then you’ll be able to attempt to get your passport in time. It’s best to keep your passport up to date to avoid these situations, though. If you follow our advice, then your passport will never expire, and you’ll be ready to travel outside of the country at all times.

If you need help with expediting your passport renewal, you can always enlist the help of an expeditor business or courier service. This may not be necessary, but some people do find it to be helpful. Don’t be afraid to look at all of your options when you’re determining the right path.

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