Need Passport Renewal or Visa Within Two Weeks?
If you require a visa within 2 weeks, contact a Department of State Passport Agency. In this case, passport acceptance facilities like post offices or mailing may not work for you. For expedited service and appointment with the agency, call 1-877-487-2778. Only if you have more time, renewal or application through a post office is recommended.
The job of issuing and renewing passports belongs to the US Passport services, which is a department of the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This department has several offices, spread throughout the country, where citizens can apply for or renew their passports, before international travel.
The renewal process of a US passport has been simplified by the government. Now you can renew it through mail, by filling in and sending the DS-82 application form, along with the required documents.
To be eligible for application through mail, you should be in possession of your last passport book (in undamaged condition), which should have been issued less than 15 years ago. Also, it is necessary that the passport was issued when you were 16 years of age or older and that you have a government document to back up your name change, since last issuance.
If you fulfill all of these conditions, you may apply for a renewal through mail. Documents required for the mailed renewal application (with form DS-82) will be same as those required for the DS-11 application.
There are certain scenarios in which you must appear in person, to apply for the same at a passport acceptance facility, like a post office or at a State Department agency.
- If your passport is lost/stolen
- If you have never applied for a passport
- If it was issued more than 15 years ago
- If you were less than 16 years old at the time of issuing
- If you can't back up your name change with legal government document, like a marriage certificate
In such cases you need a new passport and need to visit passport acceptance facility in person.
The Renewal Procedure in a Post Office
Provided you satisfy the eligibility criteria and possess the requisite legal documents, that are required to establish your identity and nationality, you can get a new or renewed passport through the post office. The renewal is quite a simple and straightforward process.
Step 1: Find Nearest Authorized Post Office
Locate the closest post office that offers a passport application facility. To locate the nearest one, you can visit the USPS link that provides a searchable database.
There are other authorized passport acceptance facilities, including libraries and municipal offices. Once you locate the nearest office offering the renewal, call them up and ask if they provide a facility to shoot photographs for the passport. If not, you will have to get them clicked on your own and submit during the appointment.
Step 2: Schedule an Appointment
All passport service agencies require an appointment for the processing of your application. Call up and fix an appointment with the post office.
Step 3: Choose the Right Form and Get a Copy
Before the appointment, you need to print out the right form and fill it completely. Since you do not qualify for renewal by mail, you need a new passport and therefore, you will need the DS-11 application form.
If your passport is lost or stolen, the right forms to be submitted are the DS-64 (Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport), along with DS-11 (Application for a US Passport).
You may collect a copy of the requisite form, from the passport office or print out a filled form, from the US passport service website, maintained by the government.
Step 4: Fill and Complete the Form
You can fill all the requisite details online, on the US passport department's website and print out the filled application form directly. Alternatively, if you have a blank form in hard copy, fill it up with your personal details, along with travel information, but sign the document only on the eve of the appointment, in presence of an authorized official.
Step 5: Arrange For a Photograph
For the application, you will need a current photograph. You may either arrange for it to be taken at the post office or get them clicked yourself. There are certain prescribed requirements for the photograph, that you should know about.
The specified dimensions are 2" x 2" (5.1 cm x 5.1 cm) and it is necessary that the photograph has a white background, besides having been clicked in the last six months.
Make sure that your face covers about 80% of the snap. In the photograph, it is essential that the head be centered and sized exactly between 1" to 1.4" (2.5 to 3.5 cm). A neutral expression, with no glass glares is expected. Headgears are not allowed, except for religious reasons.
Step 6: Collect Documents
Two identification documents are required, one proving your US nationality and the other being a proof of identity. You can bring 2 copies from the following documents: your original birth certificate, driving license, old passport that needs renewal, naturalization certificate, a certificate of citizenship, government ID, or a military ID.
Make sure that you carry the original copies of these documents for the appointment, along with one photograph, clicked within the last six months.
Step 7: Know the Fees Involved
For those filling the DS-11 form, the fees are USD 140 for a new passport book and card, USD 110 for the passport book, and only USD 30 for the card. An additional fee of USD 35 is charged as execution charges.
For expedited service, an additional fee of USD 60 is charged. If you want an overnight delivery of your passport book, an additional USD 15.89 fee is charged. Only checks and money orders are accepted for payment.
Step 8: Attend the Appointment
Attend the appointment at the scheduled time, with the copies and originals of your citizenship and identity documents, filled form DS-11, with one photograph (if the post office doesn't provide photography facility), and a check or money order with requisite fees.
Step 9: Wait for 4-6 Weeks
After you apply for renewal, it may take as much as 4 to 6 weeks for your renewed passport to arrive through mail. Those who go for expedited service, can expect the passport book and card to arrive within 3 weeks.
If you have an urgent need of renewal due to travel plans within 2 weeks, schedule an appointment with an agency, instead of a post office or any other facility, as they can work faster.
Go for expedited service, which guarantees delivery of the passport within 3 weeks. US citizens residing abroad (other than Canada), who need a passport renewal should approach their respective US embassy or consulate. US citizens in Canada can apply for renewal through mail.