Passport Renewal Process for Beginners

The passport renewal process - a photo of a passport and an airline ticket

Applying for a passport renewal can be tedious if you aren’t already familiar with the application process. The stress of applying can only be compounded if you plan on leaving on a deadline. So, what do you need for a successful passport renewal application? What does it take to get through the process with no faults? Today we’ll be looking at exactly what you’ll need to be prepared for your passport renewal application.

Am I Eligible for a Passport Renewal?

First thing’s first, you’ll need to determine if you are even eligible to apply for a passport renewal. Remember, children’s passports cannot be used for a passport renewal. This means that if your passport was issued before the age of 16, you won’t be able to renew it! Children are issued 5 year passports, so if you’re unsure if whether or not your passport was issued before or after your 16th birthday, just check its validity. If you don’t have possession of your passport book because you’ve lost it, you won’t be able to renew it either!

On top of that, if your passport has received any major damage, you won’t be able to renew either. Minor fraying of the booklet is not considered sufficient damage to prevent renewal, however a damaged information page is. Finally, your passport can’t be over 5 years expired. So essentially you can renew any 10 year passport in good condition that has been expired for less than 5 years.

TIP: One other thing to note, your passport does not have to be expired for you to renew it. As long as your passport is within a few months of expiring, or has all of its pages used up, you’ll be able to apply for a passport renewal!

Submission Materials

Man preparing a Passport Renewal Application

So, you’ll now need to gather the required materials now that you’ve determined your eligibility. The first thing you’ll need to do is fill out the application, which you can do here on the US Department of State’s website. Make sure you answer every question honestly and that you double check your application before printing it out! Make sure that you sign the application after it’s been printed.

After you’re done with the application, it’s time to get your passport photo taken. This passport photo must be printed on 2×2 glossy paper and must follow certain criteria to be accepted. Unless you plan on taking the photo and printing it yourself you won’t have to worry about the specific requirements. Vendors who sell passport photos are familiar with the requirements and will be able to tell you if your photos are eligible. You can get your passport taken at most post offices or at Walgreen’s or CVS. If you are processing a passport renewal with us, we also offer passport photos at a discounted rate.

Payment and Extras

You’ll also need a check or money order for the amount of $110 if you are applying for standard service. This number jumps up to $170 if you are applying for expedited service. We recommend money order as checks have specific rules which can lead to them getting denied. Some examples of issues with checks are that your ID license and the address on your application should match your check’s address. Some people move around and don’t update their IDs which could lead to this issue if you do use a personal check. While money orders cost a bit more to attain, they typically don’t get denied.

If you are applying for a name change with your passport renewal you’ll also need to submit documentation proving your name changed. This is typically provided in the way of Marriage Certificate, Divorce Decree, or a court order stating that the applicant has petitioned for a legal name change. 

Where Do I Send My Passport Renewal Application?

Now that you have everything you’ll need, it’s time to send off your application. Depending on what process you’re doing and who you’re doing it with, the place you’ll go may change. If you are processing at standard speed, you can go to a local post office to mail out your application to the USDS. You can also pay an additional $60 to expedite through the US Department of State. Paying to expedite can get you your passport back in as soon as same day. However this can only be done if you go directly to one of the USDS’s physical locations. If you are unable to be present, you can still mail in your application to get expedited, albeit at a longer 3-4 week speed.

If you don’t live near one of the US Department of State’s locations, but still need to rush service, there are many private courier companies that can represent you. These private couriers will guide you through the passport renewal process and rush your passport. Since these couriers work directly with the USDS, they can process at roughly the same speed. This means same day processing is available, but do keep in mind shipping time when considering a purchase. A same day passport, for example, would arrive to you not the next day, but the day after. One day to ship to the USDS, one day to ship back.

Leaving in a Rush?

Leaving in a rush? Don’t scramble to get paperwork finished, let us handle that for you. The Passport Office has been a leader in the expedited passport service industry since it was established in 1993. Never miss an update when you work with us. We provide professional service securely and with a smile. Visit our website today to get your passport back in as quickly as two business days!

If your passport doesn’t need renewing but you’re traveling to a country that requires a visa to visit, look no further. Visa Service Department services multiple cities around the United States and can help you with almost any visa required for US citizens. Visit them today to get started with your visa application and one step closer to your trip.