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How To Renew Your Passport in the US

Updated on February 22, 2014

Passports are essential documents that you need to travel into other countries. These documents are issued to you by your national government, but normally only upon request.

There are several different pieces of information that are on the passport to identify the holder. These include your name, date of birth, country of birth, and a photo of the holder.

Passports need to be renewed after a certain period of time. In the US, it's every 10 years. Applying for a renewal should be done about nine months before the passport actually expires due to the time it will actually take to process the new passport. The process can be expedited but it will cost somewhere around $300 USD.

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How To Renew Your Passport Via Mail

Regulations can vary by country but the United States Government has set some restrictions regarding who can apply for renewal. If you do not meet the criteria you will be required to fill out your application in person or you may be required to fill out forms for a brand new passport depending on your particular circumstances.

1. Locate your expiring travel document.

Old passports need to be replaced, so you have to find your expiring travel document for transmittal to the passport replacement agency. Old passports are 'disabled' then returned together with the new one. This allows you to keep a file of your expired passports for reference or as souvenirs.

2. Have your passport-size photo taken.

One important reason for passport renewal is to update the photo of its holder. In this regard, have your required head or shoulder shot taken and ready two passport-size copies of it. Photo services are available for $10 or less at malls and other locations. While having your photo taken, make sure that you conform to certain strict guidelines like the color of the background or the clothes that you have to wear.

3. Download a passport-renewal application form from the relevant internet website.

With your old passport in hand and recent photos ready, access the online site for a copy of the passport-renewal application form DS-82. US passport holders can go to the US State Department website and decide whether they want a passport book, a passport card, or both. Either way, fill in the application form online then print a copy, making sure not to omit any information that can delay the release of your new travel document.

4. Make arrangements to pay the passport renewal fee.

In the US, renewing a passport costs $75 for a booklet, or $95 for a booklet plus passport ID card. If you want to expedite the release of your new passport, an extra cost will be added to the processing fee. You may pay for the service through personal check, but make sure to include your name and complete address on the check. If that's not possible, it would be safer if you pay through money order instead.

5. Mail all the requirements to the address indicated on the passport renewal application form.

The envelope should include your old passport, the completed online application form, a pair of recent passport-size photos, and your personal check or money order. If you are renewing the passports of family members as well, make sure that there is one envelope for each applicant to avoid confusion.

How To Replace a Stolen or Lost Passport

If you misplaced your passport overseas then its best that you go to the nearest United States embassy and people in the office will guide you on the specific procedures.

If you are within your country of origin, and have lost your passport you can go to your local passport office.

1. Report the loss of your travel document. Remember, your passport is also a valid identification card that anyone can make use of. Reporting the loss of your passport will invalidate the lost one and will allow you to get passport replacement. the report can be done over the phone. If your passport was stolen also be sure to make a report with the police.

2. Apply for a new passport.. If you want to apply for a new passport during this time, then you need to appear in person at your nearest Regional Passport Agency or in an Acceptance Facility to report the loss and apply for a new travel document. Acceptance Facilities can be located at the same area as your post office. At the office, you need to fill out two kinds of forms. The first document is the Form DS-64 or the Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport form and the DS-11 which is the Passport Application form.

  • Proof of citizenship. This can include your birth certificate (for natural born and naturalized citizens) or your Certificate of Naturalization (for naturalized citizens). You also need a valid identification card -your driver's license or any state or government issued card.
  • Get a new picture. You will need a new picture taken, just like what you did when you first applied for the passport at the post office.
  • Do not forget to bring along your Social Security Number.

3. Pay the fee.Processing fees for passport replacement can change over time, but is about $75. If you want to have the processing expedited, then you can pay an additional $60 and cut your waiting to a few days or even get your passport right at the same date of application if there are not too many applicants around.

How to Expedite Your Passport Renewal

Some regional agencies will give you the passport in the same day, and others will send it to you within a few days. You must bring supporting evidence that you truly needed your passport expedited. You can use your tickets, or itinerary, showing the date of your travel.I

Expedite via Mail

f you are an adult renewing a passport that was from when you were at least 16 years of age, you will want to get the passport form DS-82. You can pick it up at your local post office that processes passports, or you can download them off the web. The website will also allow you to fill it out online, and then print it out.

You will need to mail your previous undamaged passport along with your passport photos, and the expedited renewal fee of $135.00. Always make sure when you send your application through the mail you are able to track it. You will always want to trace your passport application in case there is ever a problem. Submitting it to a local passport agency instead of mailing it in sometimes brings people more comfort knowing that it was submitted correctly.

Same Day Passports

If you need your passport even faster than the processing times for expedited passport through the mail than you will need to set up an appointment through the regional passport agency. You will want to be prepared with all the same information. The DS-82 along with your passport photos and the additional fees will need to be submitted.

Major cities like New York, Boston and Miami have locations that provide services that will expedite a passport for people. There may not be time to schedule an appointment at an agency. If this is the case, you should show up when it opens.

If you do not live near a major city, you can use a passport expediter. These are companies that specialize in obtaining passports for people. Even though you will pay a hefty fee, these companies will get your passport for you within a day.

There are many companies that are online that offer 24 hour passport service. If you choose to use one to obtain your passport, be sure to do your research and make sure that they are reputable.


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