Every September, the State Department celebrates Passport Month to promote the benefits of traveling abroad and the importance of maintaining a valid passport. September is a good time to check if you need to renew your passport. Are you planning a vacation abroad? Do you have friends or family living overseas you may want to visit? Is it possible you may need to travel internationally for business this year? If your passport will expire within the next year, it’s time to renew it. If you don’t have a passport, it’s a great time to apply for one.
Here’s what you need to know about applying for or renewing your passport:
- Processing can take 8-11 weeks for routine service. Please allow plenty of time ahead of your trip to get your passport.
- Renewing by mail is the easiest, quickest way to renew your passport. Simply mail us your DS-82 form, 2×2 photo, fees, and your current, undamaged, adult passport.
- If you are not eligible to renew by mail, you must apply in person at an acceptance facility (post office, library, etc.). There are more than 7,500 acceptance facilities nationwide.
- You must apply in person if your previous passport expired more than 5 years ago, was issued before you were 16 years old, or was lost, stolen or damaged.
Receiving Your New Passport
The day has come – your shiny new passport has arrived in your mailbox. Take note of the following:
- You may have received the Next Generation Passport, or you might have received the earlier version of the passport, called the e-Passport. Both passport types are valid for travel and are premier documents recognized around the world.
- On the back of your new passport is a QR code sticker. Scan the code with your phone’s camera to be directly linked to our website where you’ll find more information about your passport as well as travel tips.
- The documents you submitted with your application (birth certificate, old passport, etc.) will be returned to you in a separate envelope. It may take 6-8 weeks after you receive your new passport for your supporting documents to make it to your mailbox. Thank you for your patience!
Online Passport Renewal
Customers will have the option to renew their undamaged adult passports online starting this winter. Customers who choose to renew online will have the option for routine or expedited service.
Traveling internationally can be stressful, but applying for your passport doesn’t have to be. Apply early and check that item off your list. Safe travels!
About the Author: Alyssa Zalenski is a Public Affairs Officer for the Digital Engagement Team in the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.