When issued to an adult over the age of 16, a US passport is valid for 10 years. However, that doesn’t mean that you can wait an entire decade to renew it. In fact, many countries will not let you enter or approve your visa application if you have less than 6 months remaining before your passport expires.
So, when should you apply for your US passport renewal? The Department of State recommends that you send your application in at least 9 months before your passport is due to expire. You can find both the issue date and the expiration date on the second page of your passport, right next to your photo.
Since passport processing usually takes 6 weeks and can sometimes take longer if the Department of State is busy or there is a problem with your application, applying for your US passport renewal 9 months in advance gives you plenty of time to get your new passport without paying extra to expedite it.
Also, keep in mind that passports issued to children aged 15 and under are only valid for 5 years after the issue date. So, if you have a young child, his or her passport will expire before yours does, even if you applied for passports on the same day.
If you’ve waited until the last minute to apply for your US passport renewal, you have a couple of different options that will allow you to get your passport in time.
If you are planning to travel but you still have 3 weeks or longer before your trip, you can simply pay an additional $ 60 to expedite your application, plus fees for overnight delivery to and from the passport office. If you have 14 days or less to go, you can make an appointment to apply for your renewal in person at a Regional Passport Agency office.
Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.