In a majority of cases, US passport renewal can be completed through mail. However, all items and forms must be submitted according to the specific regulation set forth by the United States Department of Travel – failure to properly submit and/or complete the requirements can result in the rejection or delay of the passport renewal process.
In order to complete the US passport renewal process, the following is required:
1. Passport Photo:
An updated, recent passport photo is required in order to complete the passport renewal process; the specifications of the passport photo are specific and require strict adherence. The passport photo must:
• Be a recent photograph
• Measure 2 inches by 2 inches (length x width)
• The face of the individual appearing in the photograph must be centered; the space in between the top of the head and the bottom of the chin must measure 1 3/8 inches
• The photograph must be in color; the photograph cannot be blurry, scratched, damaged, or altered in any manner
• The individual appearing in the passport photo must be facing the camera and is not permitted to make abnormal facial gestures, expressions, or faces; squinted or closed eyes are not permitted
• Headwear – such as glasses – are not permitted without the expressed permission of a physician, specialist, or similarly-accredited professional
• The individual appearing in the photograph is required to wear casual, ‘street’ attire; uniforms or specific garb are not permitted unless they solely comprise the wardrobe of that individual
a. Getting a Passport Photo
Passport photos for the passport renewal process can be taken at many pharmacies, drug stores, and convenience stores; furthermore, they can be acquired at the post office – the price of a passport photo ranges from $10 to $25.
§ Passport photos for US passport renewal can be printed from a home printer, but the requirements of a commercially-bought passport photo apply; passport photos must be printed clearly on lightweight photo-paper
2. Form DS-82 (Passport Application):
Once an individual has acquired the passport photo needed for the passport renewal process, they are required to complete the Passport Application form (DS-82); this form can be acquired directly from the Department of Travel website and printed at home – the form must be printed on white copy paper measuring 8 inches by 11 ½ inches. The applicant for passport renewal must fill out the form specific to the requirements of a US passport renewal in lieu of applying for a new passport.
3. An Expired Passport:
The applicant must submit their expired passport in tandem with the passport renewal application; this serves identification purposes and will be returned to the applicant subsequent to processing. In the event that the applicant has misplaced – or does not currently possess their expired passport – the passport renewal process cannot be completed by mail; the applicant must apply for a new passport in person at a Passport Office or an alternatively-recognized facility.
4. Passport Renewal Fee:
The passport renewal fee for a passport card is $75, while the passport renewal fee for a passport book is $95. Payment should be made in the form of credit card, check, or money order; individuals are never encouraged to send cash through the mail.
Passport Renewal Processing Period
The US passport renewal process can last up to 6 weeks; as a result, the individual applying for the renewal of their passport is encouraged to allow an ample amount of time for the completion of this process. Since international travel is forbidden without a passport, whenever possible, the US passport renewal application should be completed far in advance of any travel plans.
However, in certain instances, there exist alternatives to waiting for the duration of the passport renewal processing period; expedition of a passport – when available – can be quite costly. For more information regarding the expedition of the passport renewal, please contact the United States Department of Travel through their toll-free phone number: (800) 4USA-PPT.
Mailing my Passport Renewal Application
Individuals participating in the US passport renewal process are encouraged to ship their application(s) through certified mail; by doing so, the application can be tracked and the delivery confirmed. However, only a single application for passport renewal can be sent per envelope.
In the event that an individual wishes to ship multiple passport renewal applications, the Department of Travel imposes a limit of one passport renewal application – in addition to one expired passport – per envelope; in order to ensure proper processing, please ship each individual US passport renewal application separately.
When is it time to renew my passport?
Due to the fact that passports range in the duration of time in which they are considered to be valid, there is no uniform statute of limitations to which passport renewals conform; however, in most cases, there exist 2 types of limitations and exceptions in regards to passports and their respective renewal:
US passports that are assigned to individuals under the age of 16 are considered to be valid for 5 years following the date of issue; subsequent to the passing of 5 years, US passport renewal is necessary
US passports that are assigned to individuals above the age of 16 are considered to be valid for 10 years following the date of issue; subsequent to the passing of 10 years, US passport renewal in necessary
Passport Cards vs. Passport Books
With regard to the passport renewal application process, both a passport card – as well as a passport book – can be renewed in the same fashion. Passport books and passport cards can be obtained separately or together, although the two vary in price.
A prominent distinction between a passport card and a passport book is the fact that while both passport cards and passport books allow entry into Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas, these 3 countries are the only locations that accept passport cards upon entry; however, passport books are accepted worldwide – applications for the renewal of both passport cards and passport books can be submitted through the mail.