Renewing Your US Passport: A Step-by-Step Guide

This page provides friendly, informal advice on how to renew your US Passport, including links to the documentation and support you may need from the State Department. There are four main sections – jump to the one relevant to you.

Section 1: Headline News & Answers about the state of the US Passport Renewal process

Mail Only, US Passport Renewal Online is Paused

At this time (Summer 2023), the US Department of State is accepting ONLY US Passport Renewal applications received by mail. The limited release of the Renew Online option has been paused. Section 3 on this page covers FAQs about the Renew Online service.

Processing Times for US Passport Renewal

At the time of publication (Summer 2023), processing times are running between 8-11 weeks for unproblematic US Passport Renewal applications. You can check the processing time on the basis of when you posted your application by visiting the State Department’s live US Passport Renewal processing time web page here. You can also expedite your US Passport Renewal even after you’ve sent it in. See Section 4 on this page for more information.

Section 2: How to apply for a US Passport Renewal via Mail

What is Form DS-82 and where can I find it?

Form DS-82 is the document that you MUST fill out in order to apply for a US Passport Renewal. You can find the most up to date link to the PDF file from the State Government US Passport Renewal page by clicking right here.

6 Checks You Must Pass before applying for your US Passport Renewal

If you need to renew your US Passport, you MUST be able to pass these 6 checks:

  1. You can send in your most recent US Passport with the US Passport Renewal Application (DS-82)
  2. You were 16 years old or older when your current US Passport was issued
  3. The issue date on your last US Passport was less than 15 years ago.
  4. You have never had to report your old passport lost or stolen, and it is not damaged (beyond normal wear and tear).
  5. There were no limitations placed on your last US passport due to damage, being lost or stolen or other points of endorsement.
  6. Your name has not changed (unless you can provide documentation explaining why, e.g., a marriage or divorce certificate).

If you don’t pass the 6 checks…

If you don’t pass one or more of the 6 checks, then you should follow the process to Apply in Person.

7 Steps to Renew your US Passport

  1. Fill out Form DS-82. Fill out the form using the easy Form Filler provided by the US State Department.
  2. Send in your most recent US Passport
  3. Send in any Name Change Documents (if applicable)
  4. Attach one photo to the application, which must meet a strict set of requirements.
  5. Work out your fees (personal check or money order) – see the FAQ on this below.
  6. Mail in your completed application (this VARIES depending on where you live and whether you want expedited or routine service). See the FAQ below.
  7. Track your application status online

If you’re outside the US and need to renew your passport

If you’re outside the US and need to renew your passport, don’t try to use the mail-in service IN the US. You should apply via the US Embassy/Consulate in the country in which you live. Each one might have a slightly different process. Check this page from the State Department for advice and further helpful links.

Section 3: Questions about the Renew Online – Limited Release Service

When was the Renew Online service paused and why?

The US Passport Renew Online service was paused on March 8, 2023, to “introduce improvements based on customer feedback”. The service was always on limited release as a kind of live test. It is believed the service will relaunch later in 2023. However, if you need a passport renewal sooner, don’t wait for the online service to resume, it’s best to use the mail option.

Can applications still be submitted to the Renew Online service?

No US Passport applications are being accepted via the online service. You can renew by mail if you qualify for that route (see Section 2 on this page for guidance).

How many applications were submitted during the Limited Release?

The State Department says that more than 500,000 applicants chose to apply for their US Passport Renewal online.

If you applied for a US Passport Renewal online…

The State Department advises people who applied during the Limited Release window of the US Passport Renewal to login to their account to manage their passport application. Click here to connect to your MyTravelGov account log-in window.

If you set up a MyTravel Gov account, but didn’t apply for a passport…

If you went ahead and set up an account on MyTravelGov, but you didn’t get around to submitting your US Passport Renewal, then the option to submit the application is no longer available. You will have to renew via mail, if you qualify for that route (see Section 2 on this page).

If you applied online and have urgent travel…

If you applied during the Limited Release and you’ve not received your passport yet, AND you will have urgent travel within the next 2 weeks, the State Department CAN help (although that help may be limited by time or circumstances). Please visit this support page and read the section called “Application Support After You Apply”.

Section 4: Options for Expedited US Passport Renewals

Strict guidelines govern how some US Passport renewals can be expedited. The guidelines vary based on certain scenarios, explained below.

Scenario: Life or Death Emergency

  • The passport agencies hold a very small number of special appointments for life or death emergency scenarios. These relate to an emergency requiring you to travel within 72 hours (3 business days).
  • Applicants need to call to book this kind of appointment.
  • Proof of the qualifying emergency and booked travel must be presented.
  • Click here for more details if this is your situation.

Scenario: Urgent Travel (Traveling in less than 14 days but not an emergency)

  • Some appointments may be available at passport agencies within the US to help with this scenario.
  • Check for available appointments if you are WITHIN 14 days of your trip.
  • Applicants need to call to book this kind of appointment.
  • Proof of impending travel is required.
  • Call 1-877-487-2778 to set up an appointment and read this page for details.

Scenario: Expedited Service (Traveling in less than 13 weeks)

  • You should know that “expedited service” still takes 7-9 weeks. Therefore, if you’re expecting to travel in less than 13 weeks you should use this service. The expedited service processing time does NOT include mailing times (back and forth, which can take 2 weeks in each direction).
  • To expedite, you can use an acceptance facility or a renew by mail.
  • Acceptance facility = post office, clerks of court, public libraries and some other Department of State facilities. Check for your nearest facility here.
  • Expedited service costs $60 within the US. If you want a faster delivery once the passport is processed (1-2 days), you must pay an additional $19.53 at the time of application, as part of your check or money order payment.

Disclaimer: this web page provides informal information plus helpful links to the US State Department website that will help some people find officially-sanctioned country-level advice and documentation. It is in no way intended to replace the advice of State Department officials or State Department rules. You should always cross-reference the process of renewing your passport with official state-level documentation. Advice, documentation and rules issued by the US government can and do change regularly.

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