Thinking it’s time to renew your passport soon? Well, the U.S. State Department actually recommends that you renew your passport 6 months before it expires—so here’s how (and why) to get that ball rolling.

Passport Renewal Timing Explained

In case renewing your passport a whole 6 months prior to its expiration date seems aggressive to you, consider three factors:

  • Routine processing of a passport renewal currently takes between 8 to 11 weeks (2 to 3 months), but with the large volume of renewals, processing can take as long as 18 weeks (4.5 months).
  • Expedited processing of a passport renewal still takes 5-7 weeks.
  • Some countries and most airlines require passports to remain valid for up to six months after travel; if yours doesn’t meet that requirement, you might not be allowed to enter that country or board your flight.

Use the State Department’s Country Information search feature to find out entry/exit info for the country/countries you’re planning to visit.

Applying for a Passport Renewal

Passport renewals may only be applied for in person or by mail. However, applying by mail is only possible if your existing passport has not been lost, seriously damaged, or stolen, and was issued:

  • after your 16th birthday
  • less than 15 years ago
  • in your previous name, and you possess legally certified documentation to explain the change (e.g., marriage license, divorce decree, etc.)

Regardless of how you apply for your renewed passport, here’s what you’ll need to do:

1 – Complete the U.S. State Department’s Form DS-82 (S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals). You can either download a PDF of this form to print out and complete, or you can fill it out online and then print it.

2 – Large passport book = no regrets. If you travel frequently, be sure to check the “Large Book (Non-Standard)” box at the top of your passport application to receive a 52-page passport book, which is thicker than the 28-page “Regular Book (Standard) version. Note that there’s no additional fee for a Large Book.

Why choose a larger passport book? Well, if your passport runs out of pages while you’re traveling, there’s always a chance that you could encounter a hassle at the airport—or even be denied entrance to that country. Also, if your passport’s pages run out before your passport expires, you’ll need to renew the passport ASAP.

3 – Get a passport photo taken. Yup, you’ll need a new photo for your passport renewal—after all, your expiring passport was issued about 10 years ago. Check out the State Department’s Passport Photos page for all photo requirements and how to attach your photo to your renewal application. Passport photos can generally be taken at drugstores (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, etc.); UPS and FedEx stores; Sam’s Club; Costco; and some post offices and libraries.

4 – Calculate your passport renewal fees. Since renewal fees vary, the State Department’s site features a Fee Calculator to help you figure out how much your particular renewal application will cost. Renewal fee options (per passport book) include:

  • Renewal fee options (per passport book) include:Routine processing (8-11 weeks) + standard shipping = $130
  • Expedited processing (5-7 weeks) = an additional $60
  • One- to two-day delivery = an additional $18.32

The State Department recommends the one- to two-day delivery option, which comes with a tracking number, for safety and security.

A passport card—which can be used for land or sea travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean—can be requested for an additional $30. It’s recommended as a form of ID for children and non-drivers, as well as the convenience of fitting in a wallet.

5 – If you’re eligible to apply for renewal by mail:

Gather your:

  • Completed Form DS-82 application (with photo attached)
  • Most recent passport
  • Name change document (if applicable)
  • Fees

You must use the United States Postal Service (USPS) to mail your renewal application package. Don’t use any other delivery service (e.g., UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.), or your application package will be returned to you. Use the following mailing addresses accordingly:

Routine Service (if you live in CA, FL, IL, MN, NY, or TX):

 National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 640155
Irving, TX 75064-0155

Routine Service (for any other state):  Expedited Service (for any state):

National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

6 – If you want/have to apply for your passport renewal in person:

Find a passport acceptance facility nearest you. The State Department has a Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page to help you find government agencies —like post offices and libraries—where you can submit your renewal application in person. Enter your zip code to the page’s search box, check the box for “Photo On-site,” and click “Search” to be shown nearby facilities where you can get your passport photo taken and submit your application at the same time.

Once you’ve chosen a passport acceptance facility, be sure to contact them directly in advance to confirm what forms of payment they accept. Some facilities accept credit and debit cards, while others accept only checks or money orders.

Note: The State Department’s 26 national Passport Agency and Center locations now accept passport applications for only two types of service: Life-or-Death Emergencies and Urgent Travel.  If your application qualifies, you can only make an appointment by calling 1-877-487-2778 (or 1-888-874-7793 for TDD/TTY teletype services).

Check Your Application’s Status

 Once you’ve submitted your passport renewal application, it can take up to two weeks for it to be processed and entered into the State Department’s system. You can track your application status via the Online Passport Status System by entering your last name, date of birth, and last four digits of your Social Security number.

Now that you know how to renew your passport, it’s time to travel! Click here to start planning your trip! 

Thinking it’s time to renew your passport soon? Well, the U.S. State Department actually recommends that you renew your passport 6 months before it expires—so here’s how (and why) to get that ball rolling.

Passport Renewal Timing Explained

In case renewing your passport a whole six months before it actually expires seems aggressive to you, consider three factors:

  • Routine processing of a passport renewal currently takes between 8 to 11 weeks (2 to 3 months), but with the presently large volume of renewals, processing can take as long as 18 weeks (4.5 months).
  • Expedited processing of a passport renewal still takes 5-7 weeks.
  • Some countries and most airlines require passports to remain valid for up to six months after travel; if yours doesn’t meet that requirement, you might not be allowed to enter that country or board your flight.

Use the State Department’s Country Information search feature to find out entry/exit info for the country/countries you’re planning to visit.

Applying for a Passport Renewal

Passport renewals may only be applied for in person or by mail. However, applying by mail is only possible if your existing passport has not been lost, seriously damaged, or stolen, and was issued:

  • after your 16th birthday
  • less than 15 years ago
  • in your previous name, and you possess legally certified documentation to explain the change (e.g., marriage license, divorce decree, etc.)

Regardless of how you apply for your renewed passport, here’s what you’ll need to do:

1 – Complete the U.S. State Department’s Form DS-82 (S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals). You can either download a PDF of this form to print out and complete, or you can fill it out online and then print it.

2 – Large passport book = no regrets. If you travel frequently, be sure to check the “Large Book (Non-Standard)” box at the top of your passport application to receive a 52-page passport book, which is thicker than the 28-page “Regular Book (Standard) version. Note that there’s no additional fee for a Large Book.

Why choose a larger passport book? Well, if your passport runs out of pages while you’re traveling, there’s always a chance that you could encounter a hassle at the airport—or even be denied entrance to that country. Also, if your passport’s pages run out before your passport expires, you’ll need to renew the passport ASAP.

3 – Get a passport photo taken. Yup, you’ll need a new photo for your passport renewal—after all, your expiring passport was issued about 10 years ago. Check out the State Department’s Passport Photos page for all photo requirements and how to attach your photo to your renewal application. Passport photos can generally be taken at drugstores (e.g., CVS, Walgreens, RiteAid, etc.); UPS and FedEx stores; Sam’s Club; Costco; and some post offices and libraries.

4 – Calculate your passport renewal fees. Since renewal fees vary, the State Department’s site features a Fee Calculator to help you figure out how much your particular renewal application will cost. Renewal fee options (per passport book) include:

  • Renewal fee options (per passport book) include:Routine processing (8-11 weeks) + standard shipping = $130
  • Expedited processing (5-7 weeks) = an additional $60
  • One- to two-day delivery = an additional $18.32

The State Department recommends the one- to two-day delivery option, which comes with a tracking number, for safety and security.

A passport card—which can be used for land or sea travel to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean—can be requested for an additional $30. It’s recommended as a form of ID for children and non-drivers, as well as the convenience of fitting in a wallet.

5 – If you’re eligible to apply for renewal by mail:

Gather your:

  • Completed Form DS-82 application (with photo attached)
  • Most recent passport
  • Name change document (if applicable)
  • Fees

You must use the United States Postal Service (USPS) to mail your renewal application package. Don’t use any other delivery service (e.g., UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.), or your application package will be returned to you. Use the following mailing addresses accordingly:

Routine Service (if you live in CA, FL, IL, MN, NY, or TX):

 National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 640155
Irving, TX 75064-0155

Routine Service (for any other state):  Expedited Service (for any state):

National Passport Processing Center
Post Office Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

6 – If you want/have to apply for your passport renewal in person:

Find a passport acceptance facility nearest you. The State Department has a Passport Acceptance Facility Search Page to help you find government agencies —like post offices and libraries—where you can submit your renewal application in person. Enter your zip code to the page’s search box, check the box for “Photo On-site,” and click “Search” to be shown nearby facilities where you can get your passport photo taken and submit your application at the same time.

Once you’ve chosen a passport acceptance facility, be sure to contact them directly in advance to confirm what forms of payment they accept. Some facilities accept credit and debit cards, while others accept only checks or money orders.

Note: The State Department’s 26 national Passport Agency and Center locations now accept passport applications for only two types of service: Life-or-Death Emergencies and Urgent Travel.  If your application qualifies, you can only make an appointment by calling 1-877-487-2778 (or 1-888-874-7793 for TDD/TTY teletype services).

Check Your Application’s Status

 Once you’ve submitted your passport renewal application, it can take up to two weeks for it to be processed and entered into the State Department’s system. You can track your application status via the Online Passport Status System by entering your last name, date of birth, and last four digits of your Social Security number.

Now that you know how to renew your passport, it’s time to travel! Click here to start planning your trip!