Have you ever wondered “how do I renew my passport?” or “when is the best time to renew my passport?” If your US passport is expired or will expire within the next 6-7 months, now is the time to renew it! If your passport is expired, you have 5 years from the date of expiration to renew it without going through the new passport procedure. All the information you’ll need to renew your US passport is below, including eligibility, required documents and a step-by-step procedure for renewing a passport.
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Passport Renewal Eligibility
Not every passport can be renewed! You must meet all the following criteria for renewing a passport:
- Your passport must be in your possession. If your passport was lost or stolen, you can’t renew it, but you can replace it.
- Your passport must be in good shape. Badly damaged passports can’t be renewed, either. You’ll need to apply for a mutilated passport replacement instead.
- You must have been at least 16 years old when your last passport was issued. The passport renewal process isn’t used for minor passports. Children who are still under 16 will have to apply for another minor passport, which will be valid for 5 years. If you turned 16 since your last passport was issued, you can apply for your first adult passport.
- Your passport can’t be more than five years expired. Don’t wait too long to renew your passport!
When Should I Renew My Passport?
You should apply for a passport renewal if your passport is expiring or has recently expired. You must renew your passport within 5 years of the date it expired. If you wait longer than that, you’ll have to use the same procedure as a first-time passport applicant.
Most people wait to renew their passport until it is within 6-12 months of expiring. There are some reasons why you might need to renew your passport early. You can do an early passport renewal if:
- Your passport is low on blank visa pages.
- You have legally changed your name and your passport was issued more than one year ago.
- Your passport is showing signs of wear such as curled edges of pages.
- Your appearance has changed dramatically since your passport was issued, such as due to extreme weight loss.
How Do I Renew My Passport?
Renewing a passport is easy! It is a much simpler process than getting your first passport, or replacing your passport if it is lost or damaged.
Gather all documents required to renew a US passport.
- Your current US passport
- Passport Renewal Application Form (DS-82), completed offline or filled out online at https://pptform.state.gov/ and printed.
- One passport photo
- Photocopy of your driver’s license or other state-issued ID (front and back)
- Flight itinerary or other proof of travel plans (only required if you need an expedited passport renewal)
- Proof of name change, if you have legally changed your name since your last passport was issued.
- Passport renewal fee – Check for $110 ($170 if you need expedited passport renewal) made payable to “US Department of State.”
Have your passport application processed in one of three ways:
- By Mail – You can mail in your US passport renewal to be processed at the National Passport Center.
- At a Passport Agency – If you are in a rush, you can visit US Passport Agencies located in major US cities, where your passport renewal will be processed on-site.
- By a Passport Expediting Company – If you need an expedited passport renewal, you can send your documents to a reputable passport expediting company, who will hand-carry your application to a Passport Agency to renew your passport fast.
How Long Does it Take to Renew My Passport?
Applying for a passport renewal by mail will take up to 8 weeks. Expedited passport renewals by mail cost an additional $60 in government fees and take 2-3 weeks to process.
To renew your passport fast, you can either go to a Passport Agency in person or use the services of a passport expediting company. If you want to apply in person, you will need to call the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778 to make an appointment to go to one of the 26 Passport Agencies nationwide. Passport expediting companies can get you an expedited passport renewal in as little as 24 hours, without you having to make an appointment or appear in person.