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Should I renew my US passport before I enroll in college in Canada?

Question: In anticipation of my passport expiring in March of next year, I would like to renew it now. I am an 18-year-old US citizen going to college in Canada on August. I was 12 years old when I got my passport. So how do I renew it while I am in Canada? Or should I do it before I leave but it doesn't look like I have time before Aug 29th.

Answer: First of all, you should verify the expiration date of your passport. Passports issued to minors are only valid for 5 years. If your current passport was issued when you were 12 years old, it should have expired when you were 17.

Next, you should know that passports issued to minors cannot be renewed by mail. You must apply for a new passport. This requires that you appear in person to submit the application and supporting documentation.

You are correct in saying that you do not have time to obtain a new passport if you apply for routine processing. You might be able to get the passport before August 29 if you request expedited service. You definitely could get it if you visited a regional agency or applied through a professional expediting service.

However, none of that is necessary unless your passport is already expired. It is possible for American citizens to apply for a passport at a U.S. Embassy or consulate in Canada.

If your passport will not expire until March 2011, you can wait until you get settled in at college and then schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to get a new passport.

Below are some links that you might find helpful.

How to Obtain a US Passport

Expedite New Passport

U.S. Embassy and Consulate List

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