Important Due to Covid-19, processing times for passports are taking longer than normal for both standard and expedited services.

Can I renew my passport book to get a passport card and a name change?

by Estela
(Westminster, CA USA)

Question: I will be traveling this February to Mexico (cruise) and would prefer to renew my passport just in case of an emergency. I have two children who will be needing passports as well and would like to get them passport cards.

My passport book does not expire until June next year. However, it's in my maiden name not my married name. Can I renew it as a passport card instead of a book and still make the name change? If yes, how do I do that?

I am told we don't really need passports for a cruise. But if we have to leave the country on an emergency, will we have any issues if we do not have passports? Thank you.

Answer: You can renew your passport and change the name at the same time. There is a place on the application to check whether you want to apply for a passport card, passport book or both.

Note, passport cards can only be used for travel by land and sea. If you plan to travel by air, then you will need a passport book.

The fee for a passport card for an adult is $30. To get a passport card for a minor, you must pay two fees. The application fee is $15 and the execution fee is $25 for a total of $40 per child.

Passports are not required of passengers on a closed-loop cruise. Please check the regulations of your cruise line. If you need to obtain passports before the trip and the cruise is schedule for the beginning of February, it may be necessary to expedite your passport.

Standard processing of passport applications can take up to six weeks. Expedited services can reduce the processing time to 2 or 3 weeks.

Return to Passport Card FAQ.

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Top 5 Questions About Expedited Passport Couriers

UPDATE: Mailing delays and high demand are impacting passport processing. The Department of State's processing times begin when applications are received at a passport agency or center and not when you mail them or apply at a local acceptance facility.

Standard service may take between 10 and 13 weeks. This timeframe does not include delivery time. Mailing times vary across the country.

Expedited service takes from 7 to 9 weeks excluding mailing times on the front and back end. Current mailing delays are significant. Requesting 1-2-day mailing service is recommended.

Regional passport agencies are offering two types of appointments: Life-of-Death Emergency Service and Urgent Travel Service.

Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (parent, legal guardian, child, spouse, sibling, and grandparent) that require you to travel outside the United States within 3 business days.

If you need to travel due to a qualified life-or-death emergency, please call the National Passport Information Center for an appointment.

For Urgent Travel Service, you need to call 14 days before your scheduled international travel or 28 days if you also need to secure a foreign visa.

If you need to travel urgently for reasons other than a life-or-death emergency, please call the NPIC.

A registered expedited passport courier can often assist in obtaining a passport as quickly as the same day. You can learn more about this service here.

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