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How to Renew Your Passport in 5 Easy Steps

Are you planning an international trip only to find out your passport is expired or is about to expire? Are you wondering how to renew your U.S. passport? If you answered yes, I am going to share with you how you can renew your U.S. passport in 5 easy steps!

How to Renew Your Passport?

A U.S. passport is valid for 10 years, so either you have never renewed a passport before or it's been a while and you need a refresher on how to renew a passport. Don't worry, the process to renew a passport is fairly easy and can be done in 5 easy steps.

How much does it cost to renew a passport?

Let's first talk about how much it costs to renew a passport. The price to renew the passport book is $130 and $30 for a passport card. The price of passports increased by $20 at the end of 2021. According to the State Department, the increased fee for a passport book was “necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world.”

The fee to expedite the passport remains unchanged at an additional cost of $60.

To pay for your passport renewal, the fee must be paid with check or money order. Make checks payable to "U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE." The applicants full name and date of birth must be typed or printed on the front of the check. DO NOT SEND CASH.

Once the form has been completely filled out, you must print the form single-sided. Lastly, you will need to sign and date the form.

Renewing your passport can be done by mail. But if you are going to renew your passport by mail then you need to be able to answer 'yes' to ALL 5 statements located on the photo below. If you answered 'no' to any of the statements then you will need to renew your passport in person. In order to renew your passport in person, please go to the Apply in Person page to learn the steps for how to renew your passport.

How to Renew Your Passport in 5 Easy Steps
You can renew your passport by mail if you can say 'Yes' to all 5 statements listed above! Image Credit: Travel.State.Gov

5 Steps To Renew Your Passport

As I have mentioned, the renewal process is fairly easy and can be broken down into 5 steps.

Step 1: Fill Out Form DS-82

The first step in renewing your passport is to fill out the DS-82 form, which is the U.S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals. This form can be found on the Travel.State.Gov website and you can either print the PDF form and fill it out with a pen or you can fill out the form on their form filler.

This form includes all of your personal information such as name, date of birth, social security number and passport information. This form also gives you the option to choose which documents you are applying for, such as passport book, passport card or both. On the form you are also given the option to request a passport book with 52 pages at no additional cost.

Once the form has been completely filled out, you must print the form single-sided. Lastly, you will need to sign and date th

Step 2: Include All Name Change Documents

The second step is for all of my individuals who have a legal name change. If this does not apply to you, please proceed to Step 3.

If the name on your current passport is different than the name you are currently using due to marriage or divorce, you will need to submit a copy of your certificates that show the change of name. These documents include but not limited to a certified marriage certificate, divorce decree or original court order showing the change of name.

Step 3: Provide a Passport Photo

Each passport renewal application must be accompanied with a passport photo. The passport photo is an important requirement and must meet all of the photo requirement to avoid any processing delays.

When renewing your passport you must send one passport photo with your application. The passport photo must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Photo must be in color

  • Photo must be a high resolution image that is not blurry, grainy, or pixilated

  • Positioning of photo is important. You must be centered in the photo facing the camera with a neutral expression and your eyes must be visible

  • Photo size must be 2 inches x 2 inches

  • No selfies allowed. Have someone take a photo of you or use a tripod

  • Use a plain white or off white background

  • No glasses allowed. If you wear glasses, you must take them off for your photo

  • No hats or head covering allowed unless head covering is for religious reasons

How to Renew Your Passport in 5 Easy Steps
Example of how to pose for your passport photo based on the photo requirements

Once you have taken your passport photo, you now need to get it printed. The photo must be printed on matte or glossy high quality paper. Your passport photo can be printed at your local Walgreens or CVS. Once you have printed your passport photo, you will need to attach it to your passport renewal application. Attaching the passport photo to the renewal application also has strict requirements. The photo MUST be stapled to the application. The photo must be stapled in all four corners with the staples stapled vertically in the corners. See photo below for an example.

How to Renew Your Passport in 5 Easy Steps
Example of how to staple passport photo to the renewal application

Step 4: Collect All Necessary Documentation

The fourth step is making sure you have all of the necessary documentation for your passport renewal. Double check all of your paper work to make sure everything is filled out correctly, make sure your passport photo is attached per requirements and that you have all of your necessary documents if you have a legal name change.

This step is important because if you do not fill out the application correctly or do not have all of the necessary documentation, this could cause a delay in processing of your application.

Step 5: Mail Your Complicated Application

You have now made it to your last and final step in the passport renewal process! It is now time to mail your application. Mailing your completed application must include your most recent passport and passport card (include your passport card if you have one), name change documentation (if applicable), passport photo, and fees.

You must mail your renewal application and supporting documents with the United States Postal Service (USPS) if you live within the United States. If you live in Canada, you should use Canada Post. This is very important because if you use other delivery services such as UPS, FedEx, DHL, or another company to send your application, the application will be returned to you.

Where do you send your passport renewal application?

Where you send your application will be dependent on where you live and how quickly you need your passport. Below are the different addresses depending on where you live and if you paid extra for your passport to be expedited.

Routine Service (If you live in California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, or Texas):

National Passport Processing Center Post Office Box 640155 Irving, TX 75064-0155

Routine Service (If you live in any other state or Canada):

National Passport Processing Center Post Office Box 90155 Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

Expedited Service (Additional fee applies. For any state or Canada): Write "EXPEDITE" on the outside of the mailing envelope.

National Passport Processing Center Post Office Box 90955 Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

What To Do After You Mail In Your Application?

Now that you have mailed in your passport, what's next? The next step: time to wait for your new passport.

The processing times for your passport begins the day your passport is received and NOT the day it was mailed out. This is very important to remember. Many people believe that the processing time starts from the moment it is dropped off at the USPS, but unfortunately it does not.

Process times will vary depending on the type of service you have chosen. If you choose to routinely renew your passport, the processing time is approximately 8-11 weeks. If you decided to expedite your passport renewal, the processing time is approximately 5-7 weeks. You can track your application status online. In order to track your applications status online, you will need the following information:

  1. Last Name: include suffixes and hyphens as appropriate

  2. Date of Birth (MM/DD/YYYY)

  3. Last Four Digits of Social Security Number

When Will I Receive My New Passport?

Once your passport has been mailed out, you will receive you renewed passport in a couple weeks. You will most likely receive multiple mailings depend on what document(s) you applied for. For example if you applied for both the passport book and card, you may receive separate mailing for both the passport book and card.

Another popular question is, Do I get my old passport back? The answer to that is yes! Once your renewal application is processed and in the mail, you will receive your expired passport as well as all of your other documents. Please note that you may receive all of these documents in separate mailings and you may have to wait up to 4 weeks to receive these items. So don't be alarmed if you receive on mailing before the other.

In past experiences, once my passport was processed and mailed to me, I received my passport in about a week. In most instances, I received my expired passport before my new passport.

I hope you found this blog post helpful on how to renew your passport. As you can see the renewal process is easy and can be done in 5 steps. Renewing your passport opens a world of travel possibilities and I hope your new passport takes you to some amazing new places! Leave me a comment down below with where you are traveling to first!

If you are planning an international trip in 2022, check out my blog post: 10 Tips for International Travel in 2022

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