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

Should I renew my expired passport or apply for a new one?

by Katie
(Fairfax, VA, USA)

Question: My name is Katie. My passport was issued more than 11 years ago. My passport expired February of last year.


So my passport was issued less than 15 years ago. I was 17. But it has expired.

Also, I'm married, so my name has changed. I have all the documents needed to present/prove my name change.

My passport has slight water damage - i.e. the cover is coming off, but neither my photo nor information has been damaged. I read your page on 'damaged' passports, and would just go in-person to see what the post office says, however, I cannot find the form for 'renewing in-person and NOT by mail'. Which leads to this:

What should I do? (Please help me) AND if I should just 'renew' where is the form "for not renewing via mail but renewing in-person via post office." If I need to just apply for a 'new one' that is fine, too. Just break it to me nicely :)

Thank you for your time and effort, hope to hear from you soon.

Answer: There is no process by which you can renew a passport in person. Either you renew a passport by mail or you apply for a new passport in person.

The State Department regulation states, "If your passport has been significantly damaged, especially the book cover or the page displaying your personal data and photo, you will need to apply for a new passport."

If you try to renew your passport using Form DS-82 and the agent processing your application deems the passport significantly damaged, you will be asked to apply again using Form DS-11. It will be a loss of both time and money.

In order to avoid this risk, you should appear at an application acceptance facility and apply for a new passport. Click the links below for more information.

New Passport Requirements

Virginia Passport Offices

Return to Passport Replacement FAQ.

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COVID-19 UPDATE: Mailing delays 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 7 and 10 weeks. This timeframe does not include delivery time. Mailing times vary across the country.

Expedited service takes from 4 to 6 weeks exluding mailing times on the front and back end. Mailing delays may be significant so requesting 1-2-day mailing may greatly help.

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:

Mondays through Fridays 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. ET, call 1-877-487-2778 (TDD/TTY:1-888-874-7793) Outside of these hours, call 202-647-4000.

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 at 1-877-487-2778 Mondays through Fridays 8 A.M. to 10 P.M. ET.

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