Disclaimer: This site may earn affiliate commissions from your purchases through our links, at no extra cost. Learn more.

Ultimate U.S. Passport Renewal Guide: Forms, Fees, Photos, & Steps

a man and woman completing a passport renewal application with a laptop

You need a valid passport in order to travel internationally. If your expiration date is approaching, our expert advice is to renew your passport as soon as possible.

This step-by-step guide will help you through all the steps to renew a passport.

In a rush? Routine renewal processing by mail currently takes 6 to 8 weeks. If you can't wait that long for your passport, you will need to expedite your application.

For more on getting your passport renewed as quickly as possible, check out our Complete Guide to Expedited Passport Renewals.

Table of Contents

Step-by-Step Guide to Renewing Your U.S. Passport by Mail

The passport renewal process is the same, whether you are renewing a passport book, a passport card, or both. The only differences are the renewal fees. Passport cards are more limited in their usefulness, but they are also cheaper.

Ultimately, renewing a passport is faster, easier, and less expensive than getting a new passport.

Follow the steps below to get started with the mail-in passport renewal application process:

  1. Complete Form DS-82: Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail.
  2. Print and sign the passport renewal form.
  3. Have a new passport photo taken.
  4. Calculate the passport renewal fee.
  5. Place signed Form DS-82, most recent passport photo, previously-issued passport, and fees payment in an envelope.
  6. Include a legal name change document, if applicable.
  7. Mail the envelope to the appropriate address on the application form

All of these steps are explained in greater detail below.

Click for reliable expedited passport courier service.



Complete Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82

an image of passport renewal form DS-82

The first step to renew a passport is to complete the appropriate application form.

While it is not possible to renew your passport online, you can complete the renewal application form online and print it for mailing.

Application for Passport Renewal Online


Print and Sign Form DS-82

After completing the renewal application online, print the completed form on white paper. Only print on one side. Make sure that the quality is good and it is not difficult to read. Then, sign the form with your legal signature.

If you have connection problems while trying to complete the passport application online, or one of your answers is not accepted, it will be necessary to download the form and complete it by hand.

Download Passport Renewal Form

Use the link above to print a blank Form DS-82 and fill it out offline. Use black ink to do this. It is important that you write legibly or it could lead to printing errors on your passport that would require you to apply for corrections. It could also delay your passport application.

The form has a total of 6 pages. The first 4 pages contain instructions and important information about how to renew your passport. The last 2 pages are the ones you write on. It takes about 40 minutes to complete, but many applicants finish much faster.


Have a New Passport Photo Taken

The photos submitted with your passport renewal application must be no more than 6 months old.

Unacceptable passport photos are one of the leading causes of delays.

Make sure your passport photo is 2 inches by 2 inches and in color with a white background. The photo should not be edited. You can take the photo yourself and print it on high-quality photo paper as long as it meets all the requirements.

If you don't have experience with taking and printing passport photos, we recommend you use a professional photo service.

We have created a comprehensive guide to passport photos that details all the specifics you need to consider including where to get a passport photo, what to wear, and the most common reasons a passport photo can be denied.


Calculate the Passport Renewal Fee

There are multiple fees for renewing a passport. It starts with the basic renewal fees:

  • The current renewal fee for a passport book is $130 for routine service.
  • The renewal fee for a passport card with routine processing costs only $30.

There are also optional passport services fees that may add to the total of your payment:

  • Expedited processing is $60. This is the same whether you are renewing a passport card or a passport book.

  • You can request overnight delivery of your new passport via USPS Priority Mail Express for an additional fee of $19.53.

Be sure to calculate passport fees correctly and accurately. The Department of State will not refund overpayments. Even worse, if you do not pay your application fee in the correct amount, your application won't be processed.

Once you know the correct total, write a check or money order payable to "U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE." The full name and date of birth of the applicant must be typed or printed on the front of all checks or money orders. Do not send cash. There is currently no way to pay for a passport renewal online with a debit card or credit card.


Place Signed Form DS-82 and Other Required Documents in an Envelope

Use an envelope large enough that you don't have to fold the application and supporting documents. A Tyvek envelope is recommended in order to protect the enclosed items.

Place the completed and signed renewal form, new passport photo, required documents, your most recent passport, and your check or money order into the envelope.

You must submit your most recent passport book and/or passport card. Again, if you no longer have it in your possession or it is significantly damaged, you cannot renew your passport by mail. If you have your old passport and include it with your application, it will be canceled and returned to you along with your birth certificate and any of your other ID documentation. Be advised, these documents are usually mailed separately from your new passport.


Include Legal Name Change Document, if Applicable

If you are applying to get a new passport in a different name than the one that is in your most recent passport, you are required to submit proof of a legal name change with the application form.

Acceptable documents to prove a legal name change include:

  • a marriage certificate
  • a divorce decree
  • an adoption certificate
  • a court order

Any name change document you submit must be an original or a certified copy. It will be returned to you.


Mail Envelope to the Correct Address on the Application Form

The address you send the package to will depend on how quickly you want the passport renewed. There are separate mailing addresses depending on the service you need.

Note: errors on the form or the submission of unacceptable documents can lead to delays in the process.

Use the addresses below for standard passport processing service:

Standard Service (If you live in CA, FL, IL, MN, NY, or TX):
National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 640155
Irving, TX 75064-0155

Standard Service (If you live in any other state or Canada):
National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

If you need expedited passport processing service, use the address below:

Address for Expedited Service:
National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 90955
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

If you are choosing expedited service, there are a few extra steps to take:

  1. You need to include the additional payment of the $60 expediting fee.
  2. You need to write "Expedite" on the front of your application envelope.

Eligibility Criteria for U.S. Passport Renewal

If you need to renew a travel document, you are not alone. Approximately 60-70% of the over 15 million passport applications processed each year by The U.S. Department of State are for passport renewals.

However, not everyone with a passport is eligible for a passport renewal.

In order to do so, your most recent passport must meet all, of the following requirements:

  • The passport was issued within the past 15 years - While a passport is only good for 10 years, the U.S. State Department allows an expired passport to be used for renewal purposes within 5 years of its expiration date.

    So, if your expired passport was valid up to 5 years ago, don't throw it away! That most recent passport is your ticket to being able to renew your passport by mail!

  • The existing passport book or passport card is not significantly damaged - What constitutes significant damage is up to the State Department's discretion.

    Normal wear and tear are to be expected. However, any combination of rips, water damage, missing pages, and/or damage to the RFID chip could mean your passport is ineligible to be renewed. This is a good reason to invest in a protective passport cover or a travel wallet with RFID protection.

  • It can be submitted with the completed application - A stolen passport or a lost passport cannot be renewed. You need to physically have any travel documents you need to renew.
  • The previous passport was issued when you were age 16 or older - A minor's passport cannot be renewed, but an adult passport can be.

  • The old passport was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change - If your name has changed due to marriage, divorce, or other reasons, you can still apply for a renewal as long as you provide proof with your legal name change documents. Any document you submit must be an original or certified copy to qualify as legal proof.

If you do not meet all the criteria above, you cannot apply to renew your passport by mail. You need to submit the application for a new U.S. passport (Form DS-11) and supporting documents in person at an application acceptance facility.

In most cases, you can schedule an appointment online to submit your application form and supporting documents at the nearest passport office.

If you do meet the criteria above, congratulations! Your current passport can be renewed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Renewing a U.S. Passport

a man standing with his wife, daughter, and a renewed U.S. passport For over 20 years we have been helping our readers with their travel document questions. These are the answers to some of the most common questions we receive about passport renewals:
  1. Should I choose routine or expedited renewal service?

    Currently, routine passport applications are taking 6 to 8 weeks to process.

    Currently, passport applications are taking 2 to 3 weeks to process.

    However, these times change based on a variety of factors. These times also do not include shipping. Delays in the mailing process can add even more wait time before you receive your passport.

    For more, check out our guide: How long it takes to get a passport renewed?

  2. Can I renew my passport online?

    Currently, no. While there was a trial online renewal program provided by the U.S. Department of State, it is currently closed.

    There may be plans to potentially restore this program in the future. However, during the trial on the State Department website, there were limitations on who qualified for online renewal that went beyond the requirements for the mail-in method. Also, there was no increase in processing speed for those that applied online versus those that didn't.

  3. When should I renew my passport?

    Our best advice is to apply for a passport renewal no later than 9 months before your current passport's expiration date.

    There are a two main reasons for this:

    • Passport processing times can be unpredictable. All it takes is a surge in demand or an unexpected event to cause processing times to skyrocket.
    • The 6-month validity rule will prevent you from entering certain countries if your passport has less than 6-months to go before expiring.

      Some countries require only 3 months of validity. Others have no such requirement (beyond the need for a passport that will be valid for the duration of your stay).

  4. While you can renew an expired passport, you will be unable to travel until your passport application is processed and your new travel documents are returned to you.

  5. How early can I renew my passport?

    Technically, you can renew your passport at any time while it is still valid and up to 5 years after expiration.

    It is important to note that any remaining validity on your existing passport will not transfer to your new one. The safe move is to renew 9-12 months before expiration to ensure you are able to travel internationally to countries that require a minimum of 6 months of passport validity for entry.

  6. When will I get my supporting documents back?

    Since you have to mail in several important identifying documents with your passport renewal application, it can be nerve-wracking when you don't know where they are.

    You will typically receive the supporting documents from your passport application separately from your new passport. They should arrive via USPS within 1-2 weeks of receiving your passport. If you have been waiting more than that, contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.

  7. What should I do when I get my renewed passport?

    First, be sure to verify the information is correct. If it isn't you'll need to file for a correction.

    If everything is correct, you can sign it, complete your personal data page (in pencil), make copies, and ensure it is stored in a safe location.

    Finally, set reminders for your new passport expiration date so you can be sure to remember to renew it in time.

    For a full walkthrough of how to set up and care for your new passport, check out our guide, What to Do With Your New Passport When It Arrives.

Don't see the questions or answers you're looking for? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions about Passport Renewal for more of our best advice based on over 20 years of helping readers like you with their travel document questions.

Top 5 Questions About Expedited Passport Couriers

1. How can you get a passport when you're in a hurry?
2. What exactly does a passport expediter do?
3. Are passport expediting services legitimate?
4. How can I identify a reliable passport expeditor?
5. Is expedited passport service worth it?

Get answers to these questions and more in our Ultimate U.S. Traveler's Guide to Passport Expediters.

You can also visit our library of articles about passport expediting.

In a Hurry? Get Reliable Expedited Passport Courier Service:Expedite My U.S.Passport Now!

Comments: Have Your Say

Leave us a comment in the box below. Please do not include phone numbers or e-mail addresses.
About the Author: For over 20 years, the U.S. Passport Service Guide team has helped hundreds of thousands of travelers with their travel document questions and shared advice about how to make traveling abroad simpler, safer, and more enjoyable.

Get the Latest Updates

Fill out the form, tick all boxes, click subscribe for updates on passports and travel news.