Can I Renew My Passport At The Post Office? | [Full] Guide + Tips Inside
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International travel can be stressful, but it can be even more stressful when you find out that your passport is expired. You should make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from your travel date for most international trips. If the expiration date is sooner than that, then you should go ahead and renew your passport before leaving the United States. So, how do you renew a U.S. passport? Many people wonder whether they can head down to the post office for renewal. We will tell you everything you need to know about passport renewal options and whether you can take care of it at the post office.
Renewing Your Passport At The Post Office
Can you renew your passport at the post office? The short answer is no. Renewing a passport at the post office is not an option because your local post office does not process passport renewals. While they might provide other passport services, renewals are not something that they handle. The postal service only handles first-time passport applications. However, you might be required to complete the first-time application in some cases, even though you already have a passport.
We will discuss the requirements in more detail later in this article, but most renewals must be completed by mail. If you do not qualify for a renewal by mail, then you may complete your application for a new passport at your local post office. You should first find a location in your area that provides post office passport services. Not every post office can handle passport applications. Once you find a location that provides the service you need, then it is a good idea to go ahead and make an appointment. If you do not have an appointment, you might be waiting for quite some time — or they may be unable to help you at all.
Passport Renewal Via Mail
If you meet the mail renewal eligibility requirements, then you should mail your passport renewal application directly to the U.S. Department of State. Renewing by mail is a straightforward and easy process. First, you will need to complete Form DS-82. This form is much simpler and shorter than Form DS-11, which is the application for a new passport. In addition to the DS-82 renewal form, you will also need to include your old passport, a new passport photo, and the passport fee. Even if you have had a name change, you can still complete the process by mail. You should just include a court order or marriage certificate that proves your name change.
When renewing by mail, you should always send your documents with a service that provides tracking information like Priority Mail Express or a next-day-delivery service. This will also ensure that your application and documents are received at the State Department in as few business days as possible. Make sure that you start the renewal process in plenty of time to receive your new passport. Routine processing of renewals is currently running 8 to 11 weeks, so it could be nearly three months before you receive your passport back. Even if you expedite your request, those take 5 to 7 weeks with expedited service.
Mail Renewal Eligibility Requirements
So, how do you know whether you are eligible to renew your passport by mail? There are a few simple criteria that must be met. First, you must still have your old passport. If you have lost it, then a mail renewal will not be an option. The old passport must be included along with the renewal application. Next, the passport must not be significantly damaged. It can have normal wear and tear, but it must be in good enough shape that it is easily identifiable as your passport, and all the passport information should be plainly visible. If it is so damaged that you cannot tell who it belongs to, you will not complete your renewal by mail.
The next requirement is that your old passport must have been issued to you when you were at least 16 years old. If you were younger than this when you got the passport, then you will need to complete a new application form as an adult as a child passport cannot be renewed by mail. Only adult passports that were issued to you within the last 15 years qualify for mail renewal. Passports expire every ten years, but you can still renew a passport via mail that has been expired for up to 5 years. However, if the passport was issued later than 15 years ago, you will need to start the process completely over. Lastly, your old passport must identify you by your current name. If it does not, then you need a court order that proves your name change. If you meet all the criteria laid out in this section, then you will be able to renew your passport by mail. Mail renewals are the easiest renewal option.
In-Person Passport Renewal
If you do not meet the requirements above, then you will be forced to renew your passport in person. In fact, you will need to go through the same process as a first-time applicant. Go ahead and locate a passport agency or passport office that is nearby. This could be a USPS office as they do accept first-time applications. The process is the same whether you need a passport book or a passport card. Make your appointment early, as it can sometimes take days or even weeks to get an appointment. Passport processing times for new applications are currently running 8 to 11 weeks, so it will take some time before you have your new passport in your hand.
Remember that not all post office locations accept passport applications. If your local post office does not accept them, then you will need to drive to one that does or head to a regional passport agency office. Walk-ins are almost never accepted at the agency offices as their appointments tend to stay booked. You might be able to get walk-in service at some post offices, but an appointment is almost always required at passport agency offices.
Paperwork Required For First-Time Passport Applications
Once you have an appointment at the passport acceptance facility, then you need to gather all your documentation. You will need to complete Form DS-11 and provide several supporting documents. You will need documents that prove both your identity and citizenship status. Most people use a birth certificate and driver’s license, although a naturalization card or other documents may work as well. Remember that you cannot obtain a U.S. passport if you are not a U.S. citizen. A passport photo will be required, along with the payment of the USPS passport application fees. The passport acceptance fee may be paid by debit card or credit card, but the Department of State fee must be paid with a check or money order.
The paperwork required for a new passport is basically the same for minors as it is for an adult passport. One benefit of applying in person is the fact that the acceptance officer can check your paperwork before sending it off to the Department of State. While the acceptance facility does not officially approve any of the paperwork, they can alert you to any glaring errors or omissions. This increases the odds that your application will be processed quickly. Passports can be issued to felons, but not always. If you have a felony drug conviction, your application might get denied. Keep this in mind when planning international travel, and make sure that you have your passport documents in order before paying any non-refundable deposits on travel.
Summary Of U.S. Passport Fees
So, how much does it cost to renew a passport? The answer depends on a few factors, like your renewal method and the type of passport you need. Passport cards are a little cheaper than a passport book, and mail renewals are cheaper than first-time applications. Here is everything you need to know about passport fees.
You can always check out the latest passport fee schedule at travel.state.gov. Adult applicants are considered to be those age 16 and older. The fee for a first-time adult passport book is $110 plus a $35 acceptance fee. The passport card is much cheaper as it only costs $30 plus the $35 acceptance fee. The renewal fees are the same; however, you will not need to pay the acceptance fee when renewing by mail. So, a passport book renewal will cost you $100, while a passport card renewal will set you back $30.
When getting a passport for a minor, the fees are a little less. The fee for a minor’s passport book is $80 plus a $35 acceptance fee. If the minor only needs a passport card, then the cost will be $15 plus the $35 acceptance fee. In addition to these fees, you might also choose to pay other fees like an expedited processing fee or a 1-2 day delivery fee. Expedited processing will cost you $60 per passport application. The expedited delivery fee is $17.56, and it is only available for passport books being delivered within the United States.
If you are unable to provide proof of citizenship, then you will need to pay a file search fee. The cost for this service is $150, and it is required to prove your citizenship. You must also include a written request for a file search in addition to your completed DS-11 application.
The Bottom Line
Renewing a passport is not difficult, but it cannot be done at the post office. If you qualify, then the easiest renewal process is through the mail. For those that do not qualify for mail renewals, then you will need to submit an application for a new passport just like a first-time applicant. That can be done at many post office locations in addition to passport agency offices. The fees depend mainly on the type of passport that you need, and you should make sure that you allow plenty of time for processing. It might take up to 3 months for you to receive your passport from the time you submit your application.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the quickest way to get my passport renewed?
The quickest way to get your passport renewed is by completing the mail renewal process. You can request expedited processing and also pay for expedited shipping. The only option for in-person renewals is at a regional passport agency. There are not many of these across the country, and they only handle renewals for people traveling within the next two weeks. It can be extremely difficult to even get an appointment, so your best option is to plan early and mail in your renewal application. If you have waited too late, then you might need to look at the best places to travel without a passport.
What should I do if I am trying to renew my passport and it has expired?
As long as your passport has expired within the last five years, then you should be fine. If your old passport was issued within the last 15 years, then you can still qualify for a mail-in renewal. Just complete the renewal application DS-82, and mail it to the Department of State along with your old passport, a new passport photo, and a check for the fees. You should receive your new passport in the mail within 12 weeks.
Where can I renew my passport?
You can renew your passport by mail or in person at a regional passport agency. In-person appointments are limited, and they are usually only available for those with emergency travel needs. USPS passport renewal in person is not available if you are eligible for a mail-in renewal. However, if you are not eligible, then you will need to submit an application for a new passport. This process can be completed at participating post offices.
What do I need to bring to complete my passport renewal?
There are a few documents that are required to renew a passport. You will need your old passport, a current passport photo, a completed application DS-82, and a check for the payment of fees. As long as you qualify for a renewal, then you will not need to provide separate proof of citizenship or identify as your old passport will suffice for both of these requirements.