How Do I Renew My Expired Passport?

How Do I Renew My Expired Passport?
If you are planning your next camping, hiking or biking trip for a destination outside of U.S. territory, vaccinations against foreign illnesses and figuring out how to pack your gear for air travel aren't the only things you need to worry about. If you have allowed your passport to expire you must renew it before you leave the country. It usually takes the U.S. Department of State four to six weeks to process applications. Even with expedited service, it may take up to three weeks to receive your document in the mail.

Instructions

Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Form DS-82 (Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail) 2 passport photos Renewal fee check or money order Your expired passport Legal proof of any name changes
  • Form DS-82 (Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail)
  • 2 passport photos
  • Renewal fee check or money order
  • Your expired passport
  • Legal proof of any name changes
Step 1
Acquire a copy of the DS-82 passport application form. You can print one from the U.S. Department of State website or get a blank copy at a passport agency or acceptance facility.
Step 2
Complete all white fields on pages one and two of the form. Be certain to sign and date the bottom of page one. Do not fill in any blue areas as these are for administrative use. Complete the form using a black ink pen.
Step 3
Enclose two identical passport-size photos in your application mailing. Take a picture of yourself or visit a passport photo center to have a professional take and print your pictures. The State Department has specific requirements for photo dimensions, background, and attire listed on their website.
Step 4
Write a check or fill out a money order payable to Department of State. The fees could go up, but in fall 2009, a renewal cost $75. Extra fees apply for expedited service and overnight delivery.
Step 5
Include your expired, non-mutilated passport in your mailing. If you do not have access to your expired passport you are not eligible to renew by mail and must apply for a new passport in person.
Step 6
Submit proof of your new name if it has changed since your last passport was issued. According to the DS-82 you must submit either a marriage certificate or a court order. If you are not able to provide this proof, you are not eligible to renew by mail and must apply in person.
Step 7
Send your passport application and materials to the National Passport Processing Center in Philadelphia address listed in the DS-82 using a traceable mail service. Mark your envelope with "expedited" if you have paid that fee.

Tips & Warnings

 
Send photocopies of official documents whenever allowable. Pay extra for mailing insurance and mail tracking so that you can troubleshoot and recoup your damages if your documents are lost en route to the processing center. Processing times projected on the U.S. Department of State website are estimates and can change at any time depending on mail volume. Add an extra time cushion during periods of high tourist travel such as when schools are on recess.
 
Send photocopies of official documents whenever allowable.
 
Pay extra for mailing insurance and mail tracking so that you can troubleshoot and recoup your damages if your documents are lost en route to the processing center.
 
Processing times projected on the U.S. Department of State website are estimates and can change at any time depending on mail volume. Add an extra time cushion during periods of high tourist travel such as when schools are on recess.

Article Written By Margaret Bryant

Margaret Bryant is a long-time resident of North Carolina. She has recently written extensively for GolfLink and eHow. She has been writing for publication since 1999. Bryant holds a Bachelor of Arts in English language/literature.

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