Renewing Passports ‐ Tips on U.S. Passport Renewal
U.S. passports are issued with a 10 year expiration date, and passports which have expired are no longer valid nor can they be used for travel. If your passport is nearing its expiration date, here is everything you will need to know about renewing passports in the U.S.
Renewing Passports by Mail
Passports may be renewed by mail in most cases. Instances when renewing passports by mail are not possible, and when the passports must be renewed in person include:
- The passport has become damaged.
- Five or more years have passed since the passport expired.
- The passport was issued when you were 16 years or younger.
- Your name has legally changed (as in the case of marriage) and you have no legal documentation to provide as evidence of the legal name change.
- If you are currently living abroad (passport renewals may only be mailed to addresses in the U.S. or Canada).
- If you are behind in child support payments.
When possible, renewing passports by mail is a quick and easy process. You will need to fill out Form DS-82 (you can download the form from the U.S. Department of State website) and then mail the form with your undamaged passport to the nearest passport processing agency; you will also need to include the fee for passport renewal and two updated passport photos. When you mail these documents, be sure to pack them in a padded secure envelope and obtain a tracking number. In most cases, a renewed passport will be mailed to you within 4 to 6 weeks.
Renewing Passports in Person
Renewing passports by mail may not be an option for those who need their passports within a short period of time. If you need to obtain a renewed passport quickly for international travel, or if you need a foreign visa, you will need to apply for your renewed passport in person at a local passport agency; you may also need to apply for a renewed passport in person if you do not qualify for passport renewal by mail. Check with the U.S. Department of State to find the nearest passport acceptance location, and call the agency to find out what type of information, documentation and payment you will need to bring with you.