Documents Needed to Renew a Passport

By Aurelio Locsin
you, age, your passport, your passport
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Renewing your U.S. passport after its 10-year expiration offers more conveniences than applying for a new one. For example, you can submit your forms and materials by mail, although under some circumstance you must still appear in person. Additionally, you pay slightly lower fees and need fewer supporting documents since you don't have to prove your identity and citizenship.

Overview

If you were over age 16 when your passport was issued, your passport is valid for 10 years.
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Renewing your U.S. passport after its 10-year expiration offers more conveniences than applying for a new one. For example, you can submit your forms and materials by mail, although under some circumstance you must still appear in person. Additionally, you pay slightly lower fees and need fewer supporting documents since you don't have to prove your identity and citizenship.

Passport

You may renew by mail if your passport is intact and undamaged; if it was issued within the last 15 years or when you were 16 years or older; or if it was issued under a former name and you can legally document the change.

If you cannot satisfy any of these conditions, you must apply for a new passport in person as described on the U.S. Department of State's website, travel.state.gov.

Proof of Name Change

To support any legal name change, fill out Form DS-5504, Application for a U.S. Passport: Name Change, Data Correction, and Limited Passport Book Replacement. You must include an original or a certified copy of a government-issued document showing the change, such as a court order or marriage certificate.

Application

If renewing by mail, fill out Form DS-82, Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail. You can complete it online and print it, or print it and fill it out by hand. Sign and date the first page before submitting.

Photos

Submit two color photos of yourself, taken at a retail passport photo shop or at a Passport Acceptance Facility; find your local facility online at IAFDB.Travel.State.Gov. You may take these pictures yourself, but you risk rejection if they don’t meet strict guidelines such as measuring 2 inches square, having a plain white or off-white background, and showing a full front view of your face.

Fees

You may submit fees using various payment methods, including a credit card or a check or money order payable to “Department of State.” Aside from the renewal fee, you can add options for expedited service, overnight delivery and name changes.

Submitting the Application

If renewing by mail, submit the entire application and all materials in a thick, padded envelope using a traceable delivery method, such as Priority Mail with delivery or signature confirmation, or Express Mail. Use the address listed on the current Form DS-82. If you want expedited service, write the word “EXPEDITE” in several places on the envelope.

You can renew your passport abroad. If you are currently living in Canada, you can submit your application to the address on the form. Otherwise, you must renew at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Rush Application

If you need your passport in less than four weeks to get a foreign visa or in less than two weeks for international travel, you must make an appointment to be seen at the closest passport agency.

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