World stamp collector: Keep your passport up-to-date with these tips
Keep trotting all over the globe without a hitch by making sure your passport is valid. Some countries mandate that your passport extends six months beyond your trip's end date. Start the renewal process ahead of time to avoid any problems. But don't head down to your local passport office. You'll need to start the process online.
Online, by mail or in person
Although you can fill out your application online, you must print it and mail it in to submit it for renewal. Mail is required because you must include the correct accompanying original or certified documents. Here's the checklist of what you must include:
- Renewal Form DS-82
- Your most recent passport and/or passport card
- Certified copies of name change documents from divorce, marriage or other legal name change
- Passport photo taken in the past six months
If you show up at a passport office with Form DS-82, you'll be instructed to submit everything via mail, so save yourself a trip. However, there are a few instances in which you must take your documentation to the local passport office in person. Download Form DS-11 and go through the process like a first-timer if the following situations apply to you:
- You were younger than 16 years old when the U.S. Department of State issued your most recent passport
- You received your most recent passport more than 15 years ago
- Your previous passport got damaged beyond normal wear and tear or is lost or stolen
How do I renew my passport?
The process for normal renewal is simple. Fill out Form DS-82 and attach a 2-by-2-inch passport photo using a vertical staple in each corner. Be sure to include a personal check or money order for your fees in U.S. funds. The price varies based on whether you plan to get a passport book, card or both.
You'll also want to make sure you mail it to the right place using trackable delivery such as certified mail. Residents of California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York or Texas will mail their renewal package to the National Passport Processing Center in Irving, Tex. If you live in any other U.S. state or Canada, you'll mail your application to the Philadelphia processing center.
How fast can you get a U.S. passport?
For normal renewal, expect to receive your renewed passport from six to eight weeks after you mail it. You can check the status of your passport on the online U.S. Passport Application Status page about seven to 10 days after submission. The status page searches for your passport status using your last name, date of birth and the last four digits of your social security number.
Get It Faster: Expedite
If you're planning a trip sooner than six weeks, opt for expedited processing. Write "EXPEDITE" on the outside of the envelope and include the $60 expedite fee on your check or money order. Add $15.45 if you want the passport sent via overnight delivery. To speed it along faster, send your renewal application by overnight delivery.