Your Options for a New Passport by Mail or In Person
Whether you’re renewing your passport by mail or in person, you only need to follow a few simple steps and wait a few weeks – unless you’re expediting the process – before you’re ready for more traveling. With a completed form, some money, additional documents if required, and a passport photo, you can renew your passport easily.
6 Months Ahead of Expiry Date
Because many countries require that your passport does not expire for three, and even six, months upon entry, you should give yourself plenty of runway space to renew your passport, preferably six months before the expiry date. It’s hard to predict how long you’ll have to wait for your passport, and it’s a best practice to proceed with a worst case scenario regarding the amount of time you’ll need. Once you’ve renewed your passport, it will be good for ten years under most circumstances.
Snail Mail Passport? Or In-Person Passport?
If you meet the following criteria, you can renew your passport by mail:
- You were 16 years of age or older when you obtained your current passport
- Your passport suffered no damage
- Your passport was issued within the last 15 years
- Your passport was issued under your current name
- Your passport has not been mutilated, lost or stolen and subsequently found
If you do not meet all of the above criteria, then you’ll need to renew your passport in person.
Snail Mail Renewal
Take the following steps to renew your passport by mail:
Download and fill out form DS-82, requiring your social security number, your address, and your most recent passport number (you’ll be able to choose between a regular book and a larger 52-page passport)
- Staple a passport photo to the application
- Include your current passport, which will be returned to you
- Include a check for fee amount, at least $110
- Include applicable documents for a name change, such as a marriage certificate
- Mail everything in a package large enough for the application without folding, using a tracking delivery method
Your new passport will arrive via Delivery Confirmation Priority Mail. You have an option to pay for Priority Express, as well. And your old passport may arrive with a hole punched in it by a separate package.
Bring the following when you renew your passport in person:
- Your ID acceptable to the passport office (a driver’s license works)
- Your proof of citizenship
- Your completed DS-11 form
- The documentation related to your reason for renewing in person
- $25 execution fee
Locations Where You Can Apply for a Passport in Person:
- Atlanta, GA
- Aurora, CO
- Boston, MA
- Buffalo, NY
- Chicago, IL
- Dallas, TX
- Detroit, MI
- El Paso, TX
- Honolulu, HI
- Hot Springs, AR
- Houston, TX
- Los Angeles, CA
- Miami, FL
- Minneapolis, MN
- New Orleans, LA
- New York, NY
- Philadelphia, PA
- Portsmouth, NH
- San Diego, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Seattle, WA
- St. Albans, VT
- Stamford, CT
- Tucson, AZ
- Washington, D.C.
The Passport Photo!
The easiest way to obtain a passport photo is to visit a pharmacy like Walgreens that offers passport photos. Here are the requirements:
- Color photo with a white or off-white background
- Head facing the camera with full face in view
- Photo size 2”x 2”, top of the head between 1-1 3/8” from the bottom of the chin
- Natural smile with both eyes open (if you want to smile)
- No: headphones, hands-free devices, hats, or head coverings (unless worn for religious purpose)
- No glasses with an exception for a medical condition for which you’ll need a signed statement from a medical professional
And for $110 and an average wait time of 4-5 weeks, you can have a renewed passport. Check your passport’s status online while you plan your next trip. If you really need to get somewhere fast, you can pay extra for an expedited passport taking only 2-3 weeks via mail or 8 days in person.