Who can renew a passport by mail?
The U.S. government has established specific criteria concerning who can and cannot apply for a renewal by mail. What are the criteria? First of all, you have to be able to submit your most recent passport. This means that it cannot be damaged or mutilated in any way.
Another criterion is that your travel document had to have been issued to you within the last 15 years. This means that you can sometimes get it renewed even after it has expired. Of course, if it was issued when you were a minor then you cannot get it renewed. You will have to apply for a new one by appearing at an application acceptance facility and submitting form DS-11.
You can even apply for a renewal by mail if your name has changed as long as you can submit an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate or the government-issued document that serves as evidence to your legal name change under federal or state law.
When should I apply for a renewal?
It is recommended that applicants send the renewal application approximately nine months before their travel document expires. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, it allows ample time for the application to be processed. Secondly, it allows you to maintain a passport with at least six months validity in it. This is the amount of time many countries require be in your travel document before they will issue a travel visa to you.
Waiting until close to the expiration date or the document actually expires could result in the need to pay extra fees if you need to have it renewed with urgency. It is best to renew it early. You can even apply for a renewal more than nine months before it expires but there is no need.
What do I need to get it renewed?
Besides your most recent, undamaged passport, you need to submit the completed application form DS-82, two identical photos that are 2×2 inches and a certified document that proves your name change if that is the case. You also need to send the payment for the application fee(s).
How long does it take to get a passport renewal?
It depends on how quickly you need to get it. You have two options when renewing by mail. Regular processing of an application takes four to six weeks. Expedited service takes two to three weeks. There is an additional fee if you want to expedite the application. The time required to process application forms can change depending on demand. Peak travel periods and inauguration of new requirements can cause processing times to be extended.
These are just a few of the more frequently asked questions concerning renewals. They should, however, give you a basic understanding of what is required to get your travel document renewed.
Visit U.S. Passport Service Guide for complete instructions on how to renew a passport or apply for a travel visa, download application form DS-82, ask your own questions and read insightful travel destination articles for American citizens who travel internationally for business or pleasure.