For Renewing A Passport
The easiest – and cheapest - way for renewing a passport is to do a passport renewal by mail.
There are a few simple conditions you need to satisfy when renewing your passport by mail, but as long as you you meet the guidelines, it’s an easy, straightforward process.
How do you know if you qualify for this passport renewal process? Check the following items:
- Is your current passport undamaged and in good
- Was your current passport issued when you were
16 years old or older?
- Was your current passport issued less than
15 years ago?
- Is your current passport in your possession? [You
must submit it for renewal.]
- Is your name still the same as it shows on your
existing passport? Or,
- Do you have documentation to reflect a legal
If you can answer yes to the above questions, you qualify for renewing a passport by mail.
Renewing your passport is generally done when your current one is expired, or when there’s not enough validity [time] remaining for an upcoming over-seas trip.
The first thing you should do once you decide you'll be traveling outside the US is to check how long your current passport is valid.
You must have at least six months remaining validity from the time your trip will end in order to travel with your current passport document.
Both airline and immigration officials can [and will] restrict your travel, if your passport will expire sooner than that.
How To Apply For A Passport Renewal By Mail
Renewing a passport requires fewer documents than when you applied for your first-time passport.
Passport renewals are handled by using a DS-82 application form, which is available for download on the Department of State website. [Print on one side of paper only.]
You can also pick up the DS-82 application form at any passport acceptance facility, as described in our article on getting a passport.
It's a two-page form with an additional four pages of questions, information, and instructions.
Note: There is no passport renewal application form for children. Children's passports are good for 5 years and cannot be renewed.
The passport renewal application form should be completed fully and truthfully in black ink.
Always include an email address on the application, so if there's a question or concern, the issuing passport agency can contact you.
This can save days, or even weeks of lost time and aggravation, if there's a problem or a need for additional infor-mation.
Once you’ve completed both pages of the DS-82 application form, sign and date the form on the first page.
Review your information to be sure it’s correct.
Then make a copy of the completed application for your records.
You must include the following items with your completed passport renewal application form:
- Your current – or most recent - US passport document, even if expired. It will be cancelled and returned to you.
- One recent color photograph: Passport photo requirements now call for only one 2” X 2” color photo.
The photo must be recently taken - within the last six months.
For information on dressing appropriately for your passport photo, see our article on applying for a passport.
While you are now allowed to submit a photo taken with a personal digital camera, it's advisable that you purchase your photo from a business that regularly takes passport photos, as there are lighting, background, paper-quality, and size-ratio requirements.
Staple the photo to your DS-82 application form with 4 staples, as directed.
- Social Security Number: As with a first-time passport application, you must include your Social Security Number when renewing a passport. Failure to provide it can result in a fine, as well as non-issuance of your passport.
- Passport renewal fee: If you’re over age 16, the total fee for renewal of a passport book is $110.00. There is no execution fee.
[Fees for renewing a passport card or combo of US passport book and card can be found on the DOS website.]
The fee is payable to the Department of State. You can pay either by personal check, bank check, or Money Order.
Print your full name and date of birth on the front of your check or
Money Order. This information must exactly match the information
you put on your passport renewal application form.
- Name change: If your name has legally changed due to marriage, you must submit your certified marriage certificate. This will be returned to you.
If you’ve legally changed your name for other reasons, such as an adoption or divorce, you must submit a certified court order that shows both the official court seal and the judicial signature. These documents will be returned to you.
All documents must be originals. Photocopies will not be accepted.
Sending Your Passport Renewal By Mail
The mailing address for renewing a passport is located below and in the instructions that accompany the DS-82 application form.
Passports renewed by mail are sent to the National Passport Processing Center in Philadelphia. Since the address is a Post Office Box, you can’t use FedEx.
Gather your signed application, your required documents, the correct fees, and put them in a secure envelope. Use either a strong padded envelope or one of the woven types, and seal it securely.
For renewing a passport in the normal passport processing time, send your documents to:
National Passport Processing Center
P.O. Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155
Mail your application at a US Post Office and pay for either Delivery Confirmation or Signature Confirmation. These are traceable Priority Mail options and are quicker than Certified Mail or Registered Mail.
For a small additional fee you can confirm that your package is received. Ask the postal agent about 'Track and Confirm' service.
Your package should be received within 2-3 days.
It's not necessary to use the postal Express Service, if you've allowed plenty of time for the passport renewal process.
This is the Post Office version of overnight service and will add sub-stantially to your shipping costs.
Only when you're short on time or doing an expedited passport renewal, is it worth extra money for faster shipping. And unless you ship overnight in both directions [twice the fee], you'll only save a few days time.
Once your new passport is issued, it will be mailed to you.
Your old one – now cancelled [invalidated] – will be returned to you, but it may arrive separately.
Check your new passport to make sure all the information is correct.
Sign it immediately with your name exactly as it appears on the information page.
Keep your cancelled passport in a safe place. It’s still the best source for personal identity and can be used as such, if you lose your new one and need to apply for a replacement.
For more information on what to do after you receive your new passport, see our article on applying for a passport.
Renewing a passport is not difficult. Carefully follow directions, while including correct documents, photo, and fees.
Mail it securely, getting a receipt. And before you know it, your new US passport document will be in your hands.
Please see our other articles with current, updated information on passport application procedures:
Getting A Passport
Applying For A Passport
Passports For Children
Child Passport Application
Need A Rush Passport ?
Choosing A Passport Expediting Service
Atlanta Passport Agency
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Travel Tip: Take time to read the pre-printed information on the first few pages of your passport. You'll find informative blurbs from the Department of State that could help you while you're traveling.
Fill out the emergency contact information in pencil, in case it changes in the future. Use an email address in the area for a US or foreign temporary address. If you lose your passport, an honest finder could contact you more quickly via the internet.
Also, use your email address - rather than your home address - for security reasons. If you lose your passport while traveling, your empty house won't be a target for thieves!
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