How to Renew Your Passport
Ready to start traveling outside the United States again? If you’re planning an international travel trip or itching to take advantage of today’s crazy-low cruise ship rates, one of the most important items on your to-do list should be making sure you have a valid passport.
With passports comes an endless amount of questions like how to change a name on a passport or how to renew a passport. Renewing an expired passport isn’t quite as simple as heading down to the local DMV to update your driver’s license. Although you may qualify to renew your passport by mail, you’ll still need to pay attention to every detailed instruction—down to exactly where to place each staple—to ensure the renewal application process runs smoothly.
Below, we’ve gathered the answers to some common passport service questions about how to renew your passport.
Can My Passport Be Renewed?
First things first—do you qualify for the passport renewal process? Some situations require you to apply for a new passport rather than renew your current passport book or card. Even if you currently possess an old passport, you’ll need to start at passport renewal service square one and apply for a brand new one if your passport was:
- Stolen passport, lost passport, or damaged passport
- Issued or renewed more than 15 years ago
- Issued to you as a child, before your 16th birthday
- Under a former name and you can’t prove a legal passport name change
If any of these situations apply, you’ll need to make an appointment at a passport acceptance facility and apply in person with Form DS-11 and all of the proper documentation.
When Do Passports Need to Be Renewed?
You may be wondering how to get a second passport. To determine when you should renew your passport, take a look at either the data page of your passport book or the front of your passport card to find the issue date.
For children under 16 years of age at the time of issuance, a passport is only valid for five years. For adults, both passport books and the newer passport cards need to be renewed every ten years. In either case, don’t wait until the last minute to renew. It’s best to apply for renewal early, considering both:
- Processing time – Start approximately nine months before your passport expires.
- Travel requirements – A destination country may require not just a current passport, but that your recent passport remains valid for up to six months after the planned travel to cover delays or changes.
In terms of planned usage, you’ll need to ensure your passport is renewed if you plan to:
- Travel by air across borders
- Take a cruise with international travel ports, even if you start and end in the United States
- Take a domestic flight and need identification that meets Real ID Act standards
How Much Does It Cost to Renew a Passport?
There is a difference in renewal fees between passport books and cards, just as with the original cost. You’ll pay:
- $130 to renew a passport book
- $30 to renew a passport card
- $60 to obtain expedited passport renewal
- $18.32 for 1 – 2 day delivery of renewed passport book (not available for card only)
How Long Does It Take to Renew a Passport?
Like many government functions, COVID-19 is a big factor in answering the question, how long does passport renewal take? If possible, you should avoid in-person visits, as renew passport appointments are often limited to only urgent and medical emergency travel.
These days, you can expect the following wait times at the passport office:
- Standard Passport processing – Routing applications take 8–11 weeks.
- Expedited Paspport processing – For an additional $60 fee, expedited processing takes 5–7 weeks.
- Life-or-death travel – You may be able to renew almost immediately by making an in-person appointment within 3 days of your departure for travel related to a close family member who is dying or has died.
- Urgent travel – For urgent (but not life-or-death) travel, you may be able to renew with an in-person appointment within 5 business days at some agencies and passport office centers.
Note, these processing times do not include mailing to or from a passport agency or center. With an additional $18.32 fee, you can opt for USPS Priority Mail Express for a return mail time of 1–2 days.
What if My Passport Is Lost or Damaged?
Looking for ways to replace a lost passport? If your passport has been lost, stolen, or damaged beyond normal wear and tear, you’ll need to apply for a new U.S. passport online rather than use the renewal process.
Damage to the level of needing a replacement includes:
- Loss or significant damage to the book cover or your personal data and photo
- Water or other damage that impedes visibility and usage
- Punches or tears that imped usage
- Unofficial markings on the data page
- Removed visa pages
To avoid the hustle and bustle of renewing your passport in person, simply fill out this form to apply for a passport renewal right now.
U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. Passport Operations in Response to COVID-19. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/passport-covid-19.html
U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. Frequently Asked Questions [Passport Help]. https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/passport-help/faqs.html#general
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