Traveling internationally this year?  You'll need to first check your passport before you plan on your fun trip!  This article covers when you are eligble to renew your passport, how to renew your passport and how fast you can renew your US passport.

Last year, more than 148 million Americans had a valid passport, which is a big increase from years in the past when just 20 years ago only 7.3 million US citizens had  passport, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.

In 2019, the US State Department processed almost 20 million passport applications alone.  Typically, at least half are US citizens who needed to renew a passport.

How to Renew a US Passport

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You'll learn that renewing your passport is a fairly simple process, but crucial to get all the steps correct, at least in comparison to other passport applications available.

You are eligible to renew your US passport if you can answer YES to all below.

  1. I can submit my most recent 10 year adult expiring or expired passport.
  2. I already have a US passport and it is not damaged.
  3. My US passport was issued within the past 15 years

There are four items need when thinking about how to renew your US passport.

Passport Photos

The US Passport Agency requires that passport photos be clear (not blurry), taken on a white background and free of items such as glasses and scarfs.  Your passport photo should also be taken within the six months prior to your application. Watch the exposure on the photo, as that is a common issue we have when applying for a passport.

We suggest visiting a Walgreens or CVS to have your passport photos taken.

Your Passport Renewal Application (DS82)

Renewing a passport means completing and applying for a US passport again.  The passport application asks for information about yourself, your address, your prior passport information, your family, and where you are traveling to if in a hurry to get a passport.  We recommend you complete the DS82 passport renewal application online, print it on white paper, full size and ensure you sign the application.  Make sure to sign the application and double check for any typos on the application as those errors will cause delays.

There are six pages total in the application; however the first four contain instructions about the process.  The last pages are one actual "application" itself.  

Your Passport

You'll need to surrender your passport as part of the application process.  So, you must have your passport in your possession and it must be valid to be renewed (an adult passport issued within the past 15 years) and must not be damaged.  Don't worry, you typically get your old passport back when your new passport is issued.

Check for your US Passport Renewal

The current passport renewal fee is $130 for routine passport service. There are optional add on service fees that may add to the total of your payment. Expedited service is $60 and you can request overnight delivery of your new passport for an additional fee.

Make checks payable to "U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE." The full name and date of birth of the applicant must be typed or printed on the front of the check. Do not send cash.

How Do I Submit My Passport Renewal?

Once you have all four documents above, you can choose to renew your passport through the routine service by going to your local post office for 10 week service or you can use an expediting company which offers faster service options.

Apply on Your Own

If you would like to apply through routine service, you can visit a local post office or send your application via USPS mail to the address on the renewal application.

Renew your Passport with a Passport Expeditor

If you would like a company to review your application and handle the expediting on your behalf passport expeditors like us can provide assistance.

Hopefully, we have answered all your questions regarding how to renew a US Passport.  If you need further help, we are here for you! Just give us a call and a passport specialist will guide you.

About This Author

Philip Diack is Founder and Managing Director of Passports and, a national passport and travel visa service with offices in Atlanta, Miami, Washington, DC, NYC, Denver and San Francisco.

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