The everything guide to the US Passport application process

Passport Renewal Guide

Renewing your passport is a lot simpler than applying for a new one. US passports have to be renewed every 10 years and can be renewed up to 5 years after they expire. So you really have 15 years from the date it was issued to be able to renew it. However it was issued more than 15 years ago you will need to apply for a new passport instead. Another thing to keep in mind when your passport is close to expiring is that most countries require you to have 3-6 months validity left on your passport from your departure date or you may not be allowed to enter your destination country.

In 2022, The Passport Renewal Process Should Be Changing
Thanks to a new executive order, the Department of State has been mandated to develop a new online renewal system for US Passports. The goal is to save people time and modernize the process.

Passport Renewal Eligibility

You are eligible to renew your passport as long as your current passport:

  • Was issued within the last 15 years
  • You were age 16 or older when it was issued
  • Has no significant damage
  • Still matches your legal name or you have the original legal documentation to prove the name change

Passport Renewal Documents & Application Forms

Next you will need to get all of the following documents together:

  • Current Passport– Undamaged and issued in the last 15 years
  • Passport Photos – Must be 2×2 with white background
  • Government Fee – Money order or check (not starter checks) for the total that is specified on the product service and fee page of your DS-82. Amount varies depending on which products you order as well as what service time you need.  The check should be made out to the US Department of State. Do NOT abbreviate this as it will cause delays in your service.
  • DS-82 Application Completed application printed and signed.

Now that you are sure you are eligible to renew your US passport the first thing you will need to do is fill out a DS-82 form which is the application for renewal. The DS-82 is going to ask you the same questions you were asked when you first applied. Although you can acquire this form at the post office the best way to fill it out is online. This causes less errors and reduces the chance of a suspension. If you do fill it out by hand make sure it is done in black ink and that the writing is legible. Click Here for Tips on filling out DS-82.

Remember if your name has changed from the last time you applied you will also have to submit the legal document that proves the name change. However if your name has changed and your passport was issued less than a year ago you can change your name and not have to go through the renewal process. Click here for name change process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Passport Renewals

Can a child’s passport be renewed?

No, a minor must reapply in person every 5 years. Any passport issued before the age of 16 is NOT renewable.

Can I renew my passport by mail with USPS?

Yes you can renew your passport by mail if:
-The issue date of your last passport was less than 15 years ago.
-You were 16 or older when it was issued.
-Your name is the same, or you can submit name-change documentation (marriage certificate or court order).
-You can submit your most recent passport and it is undamaged.

How long is a passport valid and when should it be renewed?

If you were over age 16 when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years. If you were age 15 or younger when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 5 years. The issue date of your passport can be found on the data page of your Passport Book or on the front of your Passport Card. If possible, you should renew your passport approximately nine (9) months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.

Will I get my old passport back when I renew?

Typically yes. The Department of State usually will return the old, canceled passport. However, the decision to return or destroy a canceled passport is entirely at the discretion of the Department of State. If the passport is damaged, the Department of State typically destroys the passport rather than return it. A returned, cancelled passport usually has a hole punched in it or is clearly labeled cancelled.

Can you renew a government issued passport from the military?

No, you must apply for a new passport.

Can I renew my passport if I changed my name?

If you need to change the name in your passport, and your passport is less than one year old, use Form DS-5504. If your current passport is more than one year old and you wish to change the name, you will need to apply for Passport Renewal. You will need to submit the original court document indicating the name change or original marriage certificate, along with your current passport and other supporting documents.

My passport expired years ago, can I still renew it?

If the expired passport expired more than 5 years ago, it is not eligible to be renewed and you must do a new passport application instead.

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