How do I apply by mail for a renewal of my U.S. Passport?

Make sure you’re eligible and prepared to renew your passport. This means:

You have a previously issued U.S. passport, and ALL of the following is true about it:

    It is undamaged, and it can be sent in with your renewal application;
    It was issued when you were age 16 or older;
    It was issued less than 15 years ago;
    It was issued in your current name;[232] AND
    Lastly, depending on what convictions are on your record, and depending on the conditions of your supervision, you may need to be off parole, probation, and any other type of community supervision; or you may need to have permission from your supervising officer. See PG. 60 above for details.[233]

Put together the required documents.

If your legal name hasn’t changed, you just need to provide your previously issued passport — nothing more.

If your legal name has changed, you need to provide two additional items: (1) your previously issued U.S. passport, and (2) official documents showing your legal name change, such as a certified copy of your marriage certificate or a court order.

NOTE: You need to submit the original documents. They will all be mailed back to you.

Complete and sign the application form (DS-82).[234]

This form is available at any Passport Office, and may be available from some Passport Acceptance Facilities as well (see above on PG. 61 for how to locate these offices). The form is available online at: http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/212241.pdf, and a copy is available in Appendix K PG. 113.

Get 2 passport photos taken.[235]

You must provide 2 passport photos with your application. Passport photos must meet strict requirements, so be sure to have the photo taken by a professional who is familiar with these requirements (most pharmacies have photo centers where you can get these photos taken). Do not attach your photo to the application form.

Pay the fee.

The fee for a renewal passport is $110. There is no additional processing fee.[236] You must pay using a personal check or money order — not cash. If paying by check, make it payable to “U.S. Department of State,” and make sure your full name and birthdate are typed or printed on the front (use the “Memo” or “For” line).[237] Ask the passport agent if you have any questions.

Mail your renewal application materials.

Make sure you include ALL of the following:

    Your completed DS-82 with photo attached,
    Your previous passport,
    Your fee payment of $110, AND
    Official documents showing your legal name change (if necessary).

Address the envelope to:

National Passport Processing Center

P.O. Box 90155

Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

Receive your passport in 4-6 weeks, and set up a reminder to yourself about when it needs to be renewed.[238]

After you submit your application, it may take about 4-6 weeks to receive your U.S. passport in the mail. If you are age 16 or older when your U.S. passport is issued, it will be valid for 10 years. If you are age 15 or younger when your U.S. passport is issued, it will be valid for 5 years.[239] (Note: If possible, it’s best to renew your passport about 9 months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.)

If you have Internet access, you can track the status of your passport application online: go to http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english.html, and click “Check Your Application Status.”

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    Exception to this last condition: If you legally changed your name since your most recent passport, you can still apply by mail if you provide official documents proving your name change. Acceptable documents include: an original or certified copy of your marriage certificate, or government-issued papers showing your legal name change. U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/renew.html.

  2. 233

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/renew.html.

  3. 234

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/renew.html.

  4. 235

    You can use a photo you take yourself. However, to ensure your photo is acceptable, it may be a good idea to have a professional passport photo service take your photo for about $12. You can find these services at many post offices, print shops, grocery stores, and drug stores.

  5. 236

    But you can pay an extra $60 fee for “Expedited Service” — quicker processing and delivery of your new passport. U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/renew.html; http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/costs.html.

  6. 237

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/renew.html.

  7. 238

    If you’re paying an extra $60 fee for Expedited Service, it should take 3 weeks. U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/processing-times.html.

  8. 239

    U.S. Passports & Int’l Travel, U.S. Dep’t of State, http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports/information/processing-times.html.