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Guide to Passport Renewals

When you renew your passport, you can usually skip the passport line at the post office and apply for a renewal by mail. While renewing your passport is much easier than applying for your passport the first time, passport renewal is not always as straightforward as it seems. That’s why we created a comprehensive passport renewal guide. Breeze through passport renewals and focus more time on planning your trip.

Passport Renewals

When do you need to renew your passport?

As a general rule, renew your passport about nine months before it expires, even if you don’t plan on leaving the country anytime soon. If you’re planning a trip, check the expiration date on your passport. Many countries require passports to be valid for three to six months from the day you leave the United States. Check the U.S. State Department website for passport requirements for the country you are visiting before you plan your trip.

How long does it take to renew your passport?

Depending on the method you use, receiving your renewed passport can take eight business days to six weeks.

  • Regular service: Four to six weeks

  • Expedited by mail: Two to three weeks

  • Expedited at a passport agency: 8 business days

Note: This does not account for the time mailing your application and your new passport being returned to you. As a rule, mail your application and other documents at least eight weeks before you leave on your trip.

Items You Need When Renewing Your Passport

Whether you choose to renew your passport by mail or in person, you need to provide the following documents.

1. Your most recent passport

If you are renewing your passport in person, bring your old passport with you, even if it is expired.

If you choose to renew your passport by mail, place it in the envelope with your other documents. After processing, your old passport will be returned to you. However, it will likely be in a separate envelope from your new passport.

2. Application form

Download the renewal application form online or pick one up the from a local passport acceptance facility or regional agency. You can either fill out the application by hand or complete the form on your computer. However, you cannot submit the form online.

  • If you are renewing by mail, you need a Form DS-82.

  • If you are renewing in person, you need a Form DS-11.

3. Passport photo

Staple a passport photo to the application using four stables vertically in the corners, as close to the outer edges as possible. Your passport photo must correspond to the following requirements:

  • The photo must be taken within the last 6 months.

  • Use a photo that reflects your true skin tone. Do not use any social media filters or edit the photo.

  • Use a white or off-white background.

  • Do not wear eyeglasses in your photo.

  • Have someone else take the photo for you.

  • Submit a high-quality photo that is not blurry or pixelated.

  • Wear clothing you wear on a regular basis.

  • You may not wear a hat or head covering, unless it is for religious or medical purposes. In these cases, you must provide a signed statement or doctors note that verifies the head covering is used for religious or medical purposes on a daily basis.

  • The photo should be 2x2 inches. Your head in the photo needs to be between 1 - 1 3/8 inches.

  • Print the photo on glossy or matte photo quality paper.

4. Name change document (if applicable)

If you have legally changed your name since your last passport, provide a legal document proving the name change. This can include a copy of your marriage certificate or a court order documenting your name change.

5. Payment

Usually, the application fee for passport books is $110, and passport cards cost $30. See more details about passport fees.

  • Money orders and checks (including cashiers, certified, personal, and travelers) should be made payable to the “U.S. Department of State.”

  • Cash is accepted, but you must pay the exact amount. No change is provided.

  • Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover debit and credit cards are all accepted.

How to Renew a United States Passport

You can renew your current or expired passport either in person or by mail, unless your passport was:

  • Damaged, lost, or stolen

  • Issued 15 or more years ago

  • Issued before your 16th birthday

  • If you changed your name since you received your passport and don’t have a legal document proving the name change

If any of these cases apply to you, you must apply for a new passport in person at a U.S. passport office or U.S. post office.

How to Renew a Passport by Mail

You can submit your passport by mail if your most recent passport meets the following requirements:

  • Has no severe damage

  • Was issued within the last 15 years

  • Was issued when you were 16 or older

  • Uses your current name (or you provide an original or certified copy documenting your name change)

If you live in the United States, you must use the United State Postal service. If you reside in Canada, you must use Canada Post. If you use another mail delivery service, your application will be returned to you and delay you from getting your renewed passport.

Mail the items you need to renew your passport:

Mail all the items you need to renew your passport. Choose the address that fits your needs.

Routine Service

If you live in California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, or Texas:

National Passport Processing Center

Post Office Box 640155

Irving, TX 75064-0155

If you live in any other state or Canada:

National Passport Processing Center

Post Office Box 90155

Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

Expedited Service 

National Passport Processing Center

Post Office Box 90955

Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

  • Include a $60 additional fee for expedited service.

  • Write "EXPEDITE" on the exterior of the mailing envelope.

  • Send in an envelope large enough to fit the application and documentation without folding.

  • Use a trackable delivery method that can be delivered to a P.O. Box address.

How to Renew a Passport in Person

If your passport does not meet the requirements to renew by mail, you must bring the documents listed above to a U.S. passport office or U.S. post office.

In addition to the items listed above, you will need to bring some additional documents:

Provide evidence of U.S. citizenship

Submit an original or certified copy of one of the following documents:

  • Undamaged United States passport (may be expired)

  • United States birth certificate

  • Certificate of Citizenship

  • Certificate of Nationalization

  • Consular report of birth abroad or certification of birth

A photocopy of the U.S. citizenship evidence

Provide a photocopy of the front and back of your U.S. citizenship evidence or two separate pieces of paper.

Photocopies must be:

  • Single sided

  • Legible

  • Black and white

  • On 8.5”x11” standard paper

Present ID

Present one of the following forms of identification:

  • In-state driver’s license

  • In-state permit

  • Temporary driver’s license

  • In-state non-driver ID

  • U.S. passport book or passport card (valid or expired)

  • Government employee ID

  • U.S. military or military dependent ID

  • Certificate of Citizenship

  • Certificate of Naturalization

  • Valid foreign passport

  • U.S. Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)

  • Matricula Consular

  • Trusted Traveler IDs (including current FAST, Global Entry, SENTRI, and NEXUS cards)

Bring of photocopy of ID

Provide a photocopy of the front and back of each ID that you use to apply.

Photocopies must be:

  • Single sided

  • Legible

  • Black and white

  • On 8.5”x11” standard paper

How to Expedite a United States Passport

Passport Renewals

If you’ve already made travel plans and realize your passport does not meet the expiration requirements for the country you are traveling, avoid canceling your trip by expediting your passport. In most cases, you can receive a new passport within two weeks.

Expedite at a passport agency

Make an appointment at a passport agency and bring all the required documentation to receive a new passport in time for your trip. You will also need to fill out a Form DS-11.

Expedite by mail

If your trip is not within two weeks, but you need a new passport more quickly than the normal processing period of four to six weeks, you can request expedited service by mail. In this case, use a Form DS-82. Clearly mark “EXPEDITE” on the exterior of the envelope. There is a $60 additional free to cover expedited costs.

How to Renew a U.S. Passport if You Reside in a Foreign Country

  • If you are a United States citizen living abroad, renew your passport at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. Visit the website for your local U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate for specific instructions.

  • U.S. citizens living in Canada can submit a Form DS-82 by mail to receive a passport. If you need to travel internationally within four weeks, make an appointment at your local U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.

Special Cases Where You May Need to Renew Your Passport Early

There are some situations where you may need to renew your passport, even if it is not close to its expiration date.

  • If you are a frequent traveler, keep an eye on how many passport pages you have left for stamps. Americans can no longer add extra pages to their passports. Instead, you will need to apply for a new passport when your current one is full.

  • Certain countries do not allow travelers into their country if they have stamps from particular other countries. For instance, you cannot travel to Lebanon if you have a stamp from Israel in your passport. To avoid being denied entry, order a new passport. Check with the State Department to determine whether your destination has any of these restrictions.

Learn about our top tips for carrying your passport abroad and passport tips for international depositions.

The Definitive International Deposition Guide

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