Last week I told you all about how to apply for your first U.S. passport, but what about if you already have one and you just need to renew it? Well, we can help with that too!
There are several qualifying criteria you must meet to be eligible to renew your passport by mail.
If you do not meet all of these criteria, then you must follow the steps to apply in person as if it were your first time.
Check to be sure if your current passport:
- Is undamaged and can be submitted with your renewal application.
- Was issued when you were 16 years of age or older
- Was issued within the past 15 years
- Was issued in your current name OR you can legally document your name change (i.e. you got married – congrats!)
If so, then you can take the next step and fill out Form DS-82, which you can fill out online and then print out, or print out a blank form and fill it out by hand.
Once you have your completed form printed out, be sure to sign and date the application on page 1. Unlike your first passport application, you do not have to sign this form in the presence of a passport official.
You’re almost done now! All that’s left is to send it in.
But be sure to gather your supplies before shipping it.
You will need:
- One padded envelope – preferably one that will not require you to fold any of your application materials
- Your completed DS-82 form
- Your current U.S. passport
- One passport photo
- Passport fees, and
- A marriage certificate or court order if your name has changed.
All passport fees and processing times for a renewal are the same as with a first-time application.
If you need to speed up the process, you can once again pay an additional $60 to expedite it. But be sure to clearly mark “EXPEDITE” on the outside of the package. So maybe it’s been a little while since your last trip and you forgot when your passport expires and the next one is coming up quickly. If that’s the case, cough up the extra cash to make sure you get your new passport in time!
It is highly recommended that you send your application via a traceable shipping method for security purposes. After all, you don’t want your passport or marriage certificate falling into the wrong hands!
Be sure to keep an eye on your passport’s expiration date every once in a while, just so you can apply for a renewal before that next trip. You don’t want to be caught with an expired passport and be unable to make your flight!