How to Renew a Foreign Passport

Learn how to renew your non-US passport.

There are millions of people living in the United States who hold a foreign passport.  Maybe you are one of them!  It’s estimated that over a million US citizens are dual citizens who hold citizenship to both the US and a foreign country.  More than 20 million more people are immigrants, living in the United States but still holding citizenship to a different nation.  No matter what nation’s passport you hold, it’s important to keep your passport valid at all times.  Today, we’ll take a look at how to renew a foreign passport in the US.  We’ll also review the specific instructions for renewing passports for the nations that have sent the largest number of immigrants to the States.

General Information on Renewing a Foreign Passport

The US government does not have any role in renewing non-US passports.  You won’t be applying for your passport renewal through a US Passport Agency; instead, you’ll need to work with an embassy or consulate of your country of citizenship.

The exact requirements for your foreign passport renewal will vary depending on the country.  You can check the requirements by visiting the website of the embassy or consulate at which you’ll apply.  However, you can expect to need the following basic requirements:

  • Your passport book.
  • A completed passport renewal application.  You’ll be able to get your passport renewal application either from the consulate’s website, or in person at the embassy or consulate.
  • Photos. Most countries require that your passport photo show you without hats or glasses, against a plain white or light-colored background.  However, the exact dimensions of the passport photo vary from country to country, and may not match the 2″x2″ standard required for US passport photos.  This means you can’t just pop into any drugstore and have passport photos taken!  We recommend that you take your own passport photo using the free app Passport Photo Creator. You can then print your passport photo to any Walgreens and you only pay for the passport photo print when you pick it up.

How to Renew Your Mexican Passport

Renew your Mexican passport in the USMexico has sent more immigrants to the United States than any other nation.  With such a large Mexican population here, Mexico maintains more consulates in the US than any nation.

You will need to appear in person at a Mexican consulate in order to renew your passport, and appointments are required.  Call 877-639-4835 to schedule an appointment at the consulate nearest your home.

While you wait for your appointment, gather up the required documents:

  • Your passport book, plus photocopies of the first five pages and the last page of your passport.  The photocopies must be clear black and white images, with each page of your passport copied onto a separate piece of paper.
  • Passport form OP-5, completed in black ink but not signed.
  • Two passport photos, measuring 3.5cm x 4.5cm.  Do not wear glasses or anything on your head (including headbands or wigs).
  • Payment of $74 for a three year passport or $101 for a six year passport.  Cash (exact change) is recommended, although some consulates also accept credit cards.

If your Mexican passport was issued before 2006, you will not be able to renew it.  You’ll need to go through the full procedure to get a new Mexican passport.

Renewing Your Indian Passport

Unlike most other countries, when you need to renew your Indian passport, you won’t be going directly to the Indian Embassy or Consulate.  Instead, passport applications are accepted at outsourcing centers.  These offices can be found in Washington, DC, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, New York, and San Francisco.  You have the choice of either visiting an office in person to submit your passport renewal, or you can ship your documents using FedEx.

You will begin your passport renewal process online.  On the official passport renewal website run by the outsourcing center,  you will be able to fill out your passport application and supplemental forms, and you’ll be given a customized checklist of requirements.  Your applications and other forms must be printed out and signed for submission.

Indian passport photos use the same size standard as US passport photos, 2″x 2″ (51mm x 51mm).  You’ll be able to have your photos taken at a drug store or other location that offers passport photo service.  However, there are a few requirements for Indian passport photos that are different than US passport photos:

  • You must wear colored clothing, not black or white.  Your clothing must not have any pattern or visible texture.
  • Head coverings such as scarves or hijab are allowed, but they must not obscure any part of the face.
  • Photos may not be printed on a home printer, but must come from a professional photo printer.

How to Renew Your Chinese Passport

Like US passports, Chinese passports need to be renewed when the validity is running out, when they are out of visa pages, or when they are damaged from wear and tear.

You will need to appear in person at a Chinese consulate to renew your Chinese passport.  There are six Chinese consulates in the US, located in Washington, DC, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.  You’ll also need to pick your passport up at the consulate when it’s completed — they don’t ship!

Chinese passport photos must be 48mm x 33mm, and must have a plain white or light blue background.  In the photo, your head must measure between 28mm to 33mm from the top of your head to the bottom of your chin.

Renewing Your Philippines Passport

Renew your Philippines passportIn order to renew your Philippines passport, you’ll need to appear in person at a Philippines consulate. In addition to the Philippines Embassy in Washington, DC, you’ll find Philippines Consulates in Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.  There are also two Philippines Consulates located in the US Pacific island territories: Agana, Guam, and Saipan, Northern Marianas Islands.  Your application will be accepted by the consulate, and will then be forwarded on to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila for processing and printing.  It will take 8 to 12 weeks for your new passport to be produced, so plan ahead if you need your passport for international travel!

Filipino passports may be either brown or dark green.  The brown passports are older ones that are not machine-readable.  If you are renewing a brown Philippines passport, you’ll also need to bring additional identification that shows your middle name, such as a driver’s license.

You don’t need an appointment to apply for your Filipino passport renewal… but you do need to be dressed nicely, in a shirt with sleeves and a collar!  Your passport photo will be taken on site by a consular officer.  You’ll also need to be prepared with $60 cash or a money order.  Checks and credit cards are not accepted.

No matter what nation’s passport you hold, we want to make sure it’s a valid one!


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