How to Renew a United States Passport

How to Renew a United States Passport
If you are making plans to travel internationally, don't procrastinate when arranging the necessary paperwork. Even if you already have a passport, check to be sure that it doesn't need to be renewed. If it does, renew it as soon as possible. Delays are always a possibility. If you wait to the last minute to renew your passport, you may find that your travel plans will need to be rescheduled.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Form DS-82 Computer Printer Padded envelope Passport Two passport photos Fee
  • Form DS-82
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Padded envelope
  • Passport
  • Two passport photos
  • Fee
Step 1
Renew your passport by mail if you do not need it in a hurry. You may renew your passport by mail only if the following criteria apply to you: Your passport had been issued to you within the last 15 years; it is either in your current name or you are able to provide documentation for your legal name change; it was issued when you were at least 16 years old or older; your passport is not damaged and you are able to mail it in with your application. All of those stipulations must be true for you to apply for a renewal by mail.
Step 2
Complete Form DS-82. You may complete this form online and print it out at the U.S. Department of State website, or you may print the form first, and then fill it out. You will not be able to complete the process online because you'll need to sign the form before sending it in.
Step 3
Mail the completed form to the address listed on that form. The U.S. State Department recommends using a padded envelope and a traceable delivery method (such as priority mail with delivery confirmation). Along with the form, you'll need to send your most recently issued passport, two passport photos and the current passport renewal fee (listed on Form DS-82). If your name has legally changed, you'll also need to include proof of this, such as a marriage certificate.
Step 4
Apply to renew your U.S. passport in person if you do not meet all the criteria for applying via mail. Keep in mind that if you are a minor, you will also need to provide written parental consent for the passport. Many post offices provide passport services. Log onto the State Department's passport website to find a passport acceptance facility near you. You can also use this website to find your closest regional passport agency.
Step 5
Renew your U.S. passport at your closest U.S. embassy or consulate if you are outside the United States. The U.S. State Department website provides a list of U.S. embassies and consulates throughout the world. However, if you are a U.S. citizen currently residing in Canada, you may mail in Form DS-82 to the address provided on that form.

Tips & Warnings

 
If you're filling out Form DS-82 by hand, be sure that all of your writing is legible. Unclear handwriting may delay your passport renewal. If you need your passport in less than two weeks for traveling internationally, you will need to make an appointment at a regional passport agency. You'll also need to do this if you need your passport in less than four weeks for the purposes of acquiring a foreign visa.
 
If you're filling out Form DS-82 by hand, be sure that all of your writing is legible. Unclear handwriting may delay your passport renewal.
 
If you need your passport in less than two weeks for traveling internationally, you will need to make an appointment at a regional passport agency. You'll also need to do this if you need your passport in less than four weeks for the purposes of acquiring a foreign visa.

Article Written By Catherine Chase

Catherine Chase is a professional writer specializing in history and health topics. Chase also covers finance, home improvement and gardening topics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American studies from Skidmore College.

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