U.S. Passport Renewal

By Katarzyna

December 19, 2023

U.S. Passport Renewal

Holding a valid passport is a key aspect of ensuring an issue-free travel abroad. Most often, the passport should remain valid for at least 6 months from the date of the intended trip if you wish to travel without any interruptions.

There is no possibility to renew the U.S. passport online. Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of State offers some online tools aimed at facilitating all the paperwork for those who wish to renew their U.S. passports. After gathering all documents, an applicant can initiate the passport renewal procedure by mail.

In this article, you will find all the detailed information that may be useful to go through the U.S. adult passport renewal process smoothly and handle all formalities on time before your journey starts.

Determine if you qualify for passport renewal

Start by checking if you qualify for passport renewal. You will need to apply for a new passport in person (filing Form DS-11) if your passport:

  • was issued before your 16th birthday
  • was issued over 15 years ago
  • was damaged, lost, or stolen
  • was issued in your previous name (you are not in possession of any legal document, such as a marriage license proving your legal name change)

Note: If you cannot relate to any of the abovementioned situations, it means that you qualify for U.S. passport renewal instead of obtaining a new one. Do remember that in order to apply for a passport renewal by mail, your recent passport must be in an undamaged condition.

Passport renewal process

To initiate the U.S. adult passport renewal process, you will need to fill out Form DS-82 – it can be either printed and filled out by hand or completed via the online U.S. Department of State’s form filler and then printed out.

After filling out DS-82, an applicant should prepare the following:

  • Most recent passport: the old and undamaged passport serving as an identity and citizenship proof
  • Name change documents: in case your current legal name is different than the one from your passport, certified copies of your legal name change document will be necessary (e.g., marriage or divorce certificate)
  • Passport photo: one color photo taken within the last 6 months; without any filters used on social media; without eyeglasses; taken on a white or off-white background without shadows, textures, or lines; it cannot be a selfie;
  • Fees: cover the application fee by money order or check; calculate the fee using the online calculator (the fee will be lower than when applying for a new passport)

Once you gather all the materials, they can be submitted by mail. The address where to send the documents depends on the place you live and whether you need an expedited service. It is possible to track your renewal process from the moment your materials are received by the U.S. Department of State.

Important: If you are a holder of a passport book and meet the Form DS-82 criteria, you can use your passport and request a passport card by mail (even in case it is the first passport card you wish to apply for).

Check passport expiration rules for your destination

Before setting off for a trip, make sure to check the particular requirements of your destination regarding the U.S. passport expiration rules. Certain countries and airlines may not allow U.S. passport holder if their passports expire sooner than within 6 months. So,

If you are not sure how to know where you can travel with your passport, you can check it on the Department of State’s country website.


Can I renew my passport at the post office?

No. Actually, it may be misleading as passport renewal is often conducted by mail. Nevertheless, a post office can only help you in the way that they send your application to the State Department.

Moroever, a lot of post offices can also function as passport application acceptance facilities. Bear in mind that post offices and other passport application acceptance facilities can only help you in processing your application for a new passport, not renew it.

How can I renew an expired passport?

The answer can vary as it depends on how long ago your most recent passport was issued. Once your passport has already expired, its renewal is subject to the same rules as in the case of a valid passport renewal.

Do note that if your most recent passport was issued within the last 15 years, and you meet all the criteria to renew it by mail, you can do it. In case the passport you are a holder of was issued over 15 years ago, its renewal is impossible, and you will need to submit an application for a new passport.

How can I renew my passport outside the United States?

It depends on the country you are currently in. While staying abroad and wishing to renew your passport, the State Department will usually require visiting the U.S. Embassy in person. Depending on the particular embassy, the renewal rules and process can differ.

There is also one exception for U.S. citizens who wish to renew their passports from Canada, and they can wait more than 4-6 weeks. If they need to renew their passports within a shorter period of time, an in-person U.S. embassy or consulate appointment will be inevitable.

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Katarzyna is a dedicated professional working in the dynamic field of eVisa services. Born with an adventurous spirit, she developed a deep curiosity about different cultures and a desire to explore the world from a young age. With a passion for international travel and a keen interest in streamlining visa processes, she stays up-to-date with visa regulations, guiding travelers through the complex procedures. 🐱‍🏍🛫🗺

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