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Passport Renewal

You should renew your United States passport when it is expired or close to expired. Without a valid, unexpired passport, you cannot leave or re-enter the country. Many foreign countries will not let you enter at all if your passport is near its expiration date. Therefore, you should begin the US passport renewal process well before a planned trip. If your passport was issued at 16 years of age or younger, then it is valid for five years. If it was issued at 17 years of age or older, then it is valid for 10 years. You should complete the US passport renewal process when your passport is six months away from its expiration date.

Unlike a first-time application, you can renew US passport books by mail or online. Passport renewals do not require an in-person visit to an acceptance facility. However, to request a passport renewal you must still supply the necessary legal documents and fees. In addition, there are a number of requirements for a renewal. If you do not meet all the requirements, then you may be required to apply for a new passport instead of renewing your current passport. Learn how to renew a US passport in the sections below.

Who qualifies for a US passport renewal?

There are two forms that are commonly used to apply for a passport: Form DS-11 and Form DS-82. Form DS-82 is the US Passport Renewal Application. You can only submit Form DS-82 if your passport meets all of the following criteria:

You cannot apply for a renewed passport if your current passport is missing or significantly damaged. You also cannot apply for a United States passport renewal if your passport was issued when you were a child or more than 15 years ago. If you do not qualify, then you must apply in-person with Form DS-11 as though you are applying for the first time. If you do qualify for a passport renewal, then you can use Form DS-82 and apply by mail.

How to Renew a US Passport

To renew a US passport, you must first print out and fill out Form DS-82. Use only black ink to fill out the US passport renewal form, and fill it out completely and accurately. Specify if you want to renew your passport card, passport book or both. If you have changed your name since your last passport was issued, then fill out question 11 and obtain certified copies of the legal paperwork affirming your name change. Your renewed US passport will reflect your changed name. If your name has not changed, then leave question 11 blank. Make sure to leave the white portion at the bottom of page one blank as well. A United States agent will fill out the remainder of page one.

You must also obtain updated passport photos for your US passport renewal application. The State Department will not use your old passport photo for your renewed passport. Your passport photo must meet the following specifications:

You can obtain a passport photo from a photographer, post office or pharmacy for an additional fee. After you have obtained your passport photo and filled out the US passport renewal form, get an envelope large enough to place the form inside without folding it.

Staple your passport photo carefully to your United States passport renewal form at all four corners where directed. Staple as close to the edge as possible. Before putting Form DS-82 in the envelope, check page two of your application to see which passport processing center you should mail the envelope to. There are three addresses listed on the form for centers that process US passport renewal requests. Select the address that fits your processing needs and location. You can only renew a US passport from within the United States or Canada.

Address the envelope to the relevant address and place the required postage on it. Slide the completed US passport renewal form, your passport photo, your current passport and a check or money order for the necessary fee inside the envelope. If applicable, then also include any legal documents proving your change of name.Photocopies of these documents will not be accepted. You must submit certified copies. US passport renewal fees can range from $30 to $200, depending on what kind of passport you are seeking to renew and how quickly you need it. Your check or money order should be made out to the U.S. Department of State. You cannot submit a cash payment with your application by mail.

After completing the U.S. passport renewal process, you must wait four to six weeks for the State Department to process and mail back your new passport. If you request an expedited passport for an additional fee, then you will receive it in two to three weeks. A third-party passport agency can help expedite your US passport renewal even faster, as these services can process applications in as little as one business day. Your new passport will be valid for 10 years.