The US Passport is a very important document, and the passport renewal has to happen regularly if one were to enjoy the facilities it offers. In order to travel between two countries, a passport is the most important document, and the State Department suggests to get it renewed at least 9 months before its expiry date. This time period is required to process the application and deliver the passport to the applicant, so that they can get visas when needed.
Pre-requisites for Passport Renewal
You can apply for a passport renewal:
- Only if you possess your passport in good condition.
- As passports of children cannot be renewed, you must have been 16 years or more when the passport was issued to you.
- You had the passport issued to you within the last 15 years.
- If you have changed your name legally by court order, marriage or divorce and can provide documents supporting your declaration to prove that the passport is in your current name.
It is only when you fulfill these requirements that you can apply for passport renewal. Otherwise you have to first apply for your initial new passport. Individuals below 16 years should be accompanied by one of their parents or a guardian for co-signing the application.
Steps Involved in Passport Renewal
There are two main ways of passport renewal:
1.Via Mail – To submit an application via mail, you have to fill Form DS-82 (Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail) which can be accessed online or picked up at a passport acceptance service, passport agency or some post offices. If you have your passport which is undamaged, issued within last 15 years, when you were 16 years of age or older, bearing your current name along with supporting legal proof of it, then you can apply by mail. Your current passport, two latest passport style photos, fees, and legal name change document, if applicable, must accompany the application form inside a padded envelope to avoid tampering of any sort. This packet should be mailed via a traceable delivery system as recommended by US Department of State.
2.In Person – When your passport is stolen, damaged or lost and you do not fulfill the requirements of Form DS- 82, then you need to fill Form DS-11, where the completed application must be signed in front of the Acceptance Agent – the agent who accepts your form. The in-person application process is similar to acquiring a new passport. Along with the form, two passport size photos, proof of US citizenship, and an acceptable personal identification document must be attached. Take with you photocopies of the front and back of all the supporting documents. Citizenship or naturalization certificate or birth certificates, etc can be submitted as proof of US citizenship. Similarly, current driver’s license, naturalization certificate or government or military ID can be considered as acceptable personal identification proof.
The normal time taken to process the application is about 4 to 6 weeks and if the process is hastened up, it takes 2 to 3 weeks for the passport to reach you, depending upon the number of applications received. Every time you renew your passport, you will be given a new number. The general fee for passport renewal is $110 and to expedite the service, you have to pay an additional $60 to the State Department. US citizens residing in Canada can use Form DS-82 to apply for passport renewal, whereas citizens of US staying abroad has to renew their passports at the local US Embassy or Consulate.