Steps to Renew an Expired Passport
Renewing a U.S. passport is relatively easy if the passport is still in effect, and usually not too much harder if the passport is expired.
In many instances, the passports can be renewed by mail, while at other time passport holders will need to apply in person.
The U.S. Department of State issues passports for American citizens who want to travel abroad. As most countries require passports to be good for three to six months, or longer, after the traveler leaves that country, many people get new passports in the year before their old one expires.
The federal agency allows people to renew expired passports by mail if four conditions are met:
• The applicant was at least 16 years old when the expired passport was issued.
• The passport was issued within the last 15 years.
• The original passport is undamaged. It must be submitted with the renewal application.
• The applicant’s name has not changed from the name the previous passport was issued under. If the applicant is going by another name now, he must submit legal documentation of the name change.
The expired passport holder must meet all of these conditions to get a new passport by mail. If he cannot meet all of them, then he must apply in person at a passport agency.
The State Department requires Form DS-82, which is the by-mail passport application, to be submitted with the mail-in packet. The form is available online at the State Department’s website, http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds82/ds82_843.html. Along with the application, people must submit the expired passport, a photograph and the fees. If the applicant’s name has changed since the old passport was issued, a copy of the marriage license or court order needs to be submitted as part of the application.
It takes about four to six weeks to get a new passport by mail; applicants who need a passport sooner can pay an additional fee for expedited service.
The State Department suggests mailing applications in a padded envelope that is large enough to hold the application without folding it. The government will only mail renewed passports to U.S. and Canadian addresses. Travelers whose passports expire while they are traveling abroad need to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Holders of expired passports that do not qualify to mail-in applications need to apply in person at a passport acceptance facility or regional passport agency. Acceptance facilities include post office, county court clerks, libraries and other government offices. State provides a searchable list by zip code at http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/.
Applicants need to complete Form DS-11, which is the application for a new or first-time passport. It Is available online http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html.
Applicants will need to provide the same information they presented when they applied for their original passport:
• Completed Form DS-11. This form must be signed at the passport facility.
• A photograph.
• Proof of U.S. citizenship, such as a birth certificate or naturalization papers.
• Identification to show facility officials as well as photocopies of the identification to be included with the application. Both sides of the ID must be photocopied, with only one side to a page if both sides will not fit on one page. The photocopies must be on 8-1/2 x 11 white paper. Acceptable identification includes driver’s licenses, previous passports, and government or military ID.
• Applicable fees.
As with mail-in applications, it takes four to six weeks to get a new passport, though a fee can be paid for expedited service.