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

How to Renew a U.S. Passport | Form, Photo, Fees & Processing Times

Senior citizen and young girl holding renewed passports and boarding passes at airport

You need a valid passport in order to travel internationally. If your passport is expired, you have to renew it in order to travel abroad.

Not only that, some countries may deny your current valid passport depending on when it expires. For instance, if you are traveling internationally through one of the countries that require 6 months of passport validity, your travel plans may be in trouble.

So, if your passport or passport card is expired (or expiring soon), our expert advice is to renew it as soon as possible.

There are many renewal options to consider. This guide will help you through all the steps of the passport renewal process.

In a rush? The absolute fastest way to renew a passport is to get help from a passport expediter. These registered courier services can help you get a passport renewed in as few as 24 hours in certain cases. Be sure to check out our directory of the best passport expediting services. These are our top recommendations based on over 20 years of experience helping travelers with their international travel document needs.

Can Your Passport Can Be Renewed?

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.

Before you begin the process, make sure you qualify 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, an expired passport can be used for renewal purposes within 5 years of its expiration date.
  • 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 is 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.

  • It can be submitted with the completed application - A stolen passport or a lost passport cannot be renewed. You need to be physically in possession of 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.

    A child's appearance will change a lot during the travel document's 5-year period of validity. This is why the Department of State requires minors applying for a passport to apply in person with fresh passport photos.

  • It 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 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.

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

There are several options for how you can do so. The major difference between the choices is how long it takes to renew your passport.

Luckily, renewing a passport is faster and easier than getting a new passport.

There is one major, time-saving difference between a passport renewal and the new passport application process. If you meet the requirements for a renewal, you can mail your application and supporting documents. This means you can renew a passport without having to sign or submit your documents in person

To get your passport in time and avoid unnecessary delays, it is important to follow the instructions below carefully. Pay attention to these details so you can get your passport as quickly as you need it.

Your Options for How to Renew Passport Books and Cards

Renewing a passport is faster and easier than getting a new passport.

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 cheaper.

The various options for renewing passports are listed below in order from slowest to fastest processing time:

Routine Service Options

  • You can renew a passport by mail with standard service. The passport renewal application can be sent to the address on the form along with the previously-issued passport, a new photo and payment for passport fees.

    This is the slowest way to renew a passport. It can take months for your application to be processed and your renewed passport to arrive.

  • You can renew a passport by bringing your application materials to a passport acceptance office. Many post offices, libraries, and public buildings across the U.S. are authorized by the state department to serve this function.

    Note: This method gives you no advantage over mailing your passport. Your application does not receive any extra priority or faster processing than those that are mailed.

Expedited Service Options

You can renew a passport with expedited service either by mail or at a regional passport agency.

  • Expediting a renewal by mail can reduce your wait time by a month or more compared to standard service.

    Applications are still mailed, but they are sent to a different address than standard service applications and require an additional $60 fee.

  • Applying at a regional passport agency can reduce your wait time to 1 to 8 days. This is much faster than renewing by mail or in person at a passport acceptance facility.

  • Applicants can authorize a third party such as a family member or registered passport courier service to submit the application, pick up the new passport, and deliver it. This is ideal for those who need to get a passport renewed as fast as possible but are unable to visit a regional agency, themselves.

Be sure to check the current processing times for each method before choosing which option is best.

Once your materials have been submitted, you will be without a passport and your citizenship documents until they and your new passport are mailed back to you. You can track your passport application status using the online tool provided on the State Department website.

If you need a passport renewed fast, our best advice is not to wait. Rush My Passport is a reputable courier service that is currently getting passport applications expedited in a week or less. Apply online for expedited passport service.

U.S. Passport Renewals by Mail: Step By Step

For most people, renewing a passport by mail is the easiest option. It is also the slowest choice. That said, if you are renewing a passport before you have an urgent travel need, it should get the job done.

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 legal name change document, if applicable.
  7. Mail envelope to the appropriate address on the application form

All of these steps are explained in greater detail below.


Complete Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82

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

While it is not possible to renew a passport online, you can complete the renewal application form online and print it for mailing or submitting at a processing center.

Application for Passport Renewal Online


Print and Sign Form DS-82

After completing the application process, 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 online form or one of your answers is not accepted, it will be necessary to download the passport application using the link below.

Download Passport Renewal Form

If necessary, download and print a blankForm DS-82 and then complete it 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, 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 can help with any further specifics you need help with.


Calculate the Passport Renewal Fee

There are multiple fees for renewing a passport. It starts with the base 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 fees correctly and accurately. The Department of State will not refund overpayments. Even worse, if you do not pay 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 the check. Do not send cash.


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 form and supporting documents. A Tyvek envelope is recommended in order to protect the enclosed items.

Place the completed and signed renewal form, passport photo, required documents, 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 submit it, it will be cancelled and returned to you along with 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 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.

U.S. Passport Renewals in Person

It is not necessary to apply in person for a passport renewal unless you need to submit your application form at a regional processing center for expedited service.

You can schedule an appointment online to submit your application form and supporting documents at the nearest passport office. However, it does not mean your expedited application will get processed any faster than those who mailed in their expedited applications.

For the fastest service, your will need to call and make an appointment at a regional passport agency. If you have proof of either a life-or-death emergency or urgent international travel within the next 14 days, this method can get you a passport fast. However, appointments can be hard to come by and there are only 26 regional passport agencies spread across the entire United States.

If you need this option, it may be cheaper and easier to hire a registered passport courier to help.

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

3 Common Questions About Renewing a U.S. Passport

For over 20 years we have been helping our readers with their travel document questions. These are the answers to 3 of the most common questions we receive about passport renewals:
  1. Should I choose routine or expedited renewal service?

    Routine processing of applications usually takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks. Currently, routine passport applications are taking 10 to 13 weeks to process.

    A request for fast passport renewal by mail usually takes 3 to 5 weeks. Currently, passport applications are taking 7 to 9 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. 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).

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

Don't see the questions or answers you're looking for? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions about Passport Renewal.

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