If you need to renew your existing passport, you have a few different options for how to go about it. It’s important to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each to ensure that you choose the US passport renewal option that’s right for you. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the methods you can use to renew your US passport.
Most American passport holders are eligible for passport renewal by mail. To determine whether or not you are eligible, ask yourself the following questions:
Has my passport been lost, stolen or damaged?
Was my passport issued more than 15 years ago, or when I was a minor under 16 years of age?
Do I lack legal documentation to support any required changes to the name on my passport?
If the answer is “yes” to any of them, you are not eligible to renew by mail and must apply in person just like you did the first time. Otherwise, all you have to do is fill out US passport renewal application Form DS-82, sign it, and send it in along with the required payment, 2 passport photos and your current passport. If your name has changed since you got your passport, you’ll also need to include legal documentation that backs up your name change.
After you’ve submitted your application, wait either 6 weeks or longer (regular service) or 3 weeks (expedited service) for your new passport to arrive in the mail.
At a Passport Agency
Why would you want to go apply for a US passport renewal in person when you could just drop your application in the mail and be done with it? Well, if you’re traveling in less than 14 days, it’s the only way to ensure that you get your passport renewal on time.
To renew your passport at a passport agency, first find the agency nearest you and make an appointment.
The agency office locations are listed on the Department of State website. Be prepared to travel – there are only 21 passport agency offices open to the public at the present time. Bring everything mentioned above plus a copy of your travel itinerary to show that you will be leaving the country in the next 14 days.
Through an Expediter
If you need your US passport renewal quickly but don’t have the time or the patience to deal with going to a passport agency office, an expediter might be a better option. For a fee, an expediting company delivers your application and supporting documents to the Department of State for immediate processing. It pays to research to find the best price and a reputable company.
Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.
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