If you’ve suddenly realized you’re US passport has expired or is about to and you’re not sure how to renew it by mail, don’t worry. Renewing a US passport for an adult is as easy as 30 minutes of your time, a trip to the post office and a $110 fee. If you’ve never renewed your American passport by mail before, just follow these quick tips and you’ll be the proud owner of a brand new American passport and ready to travel in no time.
Find Your Old Passport – To renew your expired adult US passport by mail you must still have your old passport in order to renew it. If not, you’ll find yourself paying an extra $25 fee, which if you can avoid that, it’s better. Your passport must be undamaged, have been issued within the last 15 years, was issued when you were 16 years or older and issued in the name you currently hold or you have legal proof of your name change (if you got married recently but can’t find the proof, you’ll need to get a passport in person, so this information won’t work for you).
You must submit your expired passport with your application for a new US passport but, don’t worry, they’ll send your old one back to you along with your new one, so you won’t lose it for good.
Get Passport Photos Taken – Get new passport photos taken to send along with your application form. You will need two passport photos in color and they must be identical. The size should be 2″ x2″ and you must be photographed in front of a blank white background, You should be facing forward, and cannot be wearing a uniform, a hat, dark glasses or anything you don’t normally wear (ie: if you normally wear glasses to see with then, yes, you can wear them in the photo).
When I got my last US passport, I just had my photos taken at the post office right before I mailed the application. They know exactly what they’re doing, so you get the correct sized photos, and the whole experience took less than 10 minutes from photography to developing.
Download Form DS-82 and Complete – Form DS-82 is the application form you need to download to renew a US passport by mail. It’s available at a US Department of State website here – and takes all of five minutes to complete. Just make sure you answer every question and sign and date it, as incomplete forms will be returned to you without your passport being renewed.
Get a Money Order for the Fee – You can pay the US passport renewal fee by personal check, but because they have such tight restrictions for the name on the check being exactly the same as on the passport renewal form, you’re better just getting a money order at the post office at the same time you get your photos taken. Current fee is $110 for a passport renewal, as it’s just gone up by $35 from the $75 fee it’s been at for years. Make sure your money order is for $110, complete it correctly, sign it and keep the copy stub for your records.
Mailing Your US Passport Application By Certified Mail – Address a manila envelope with the address you’re given on the DS-82 form. Make absolutely sure everything you need is in the envelope before you mail it – completed and signed DS-82 form, two passport photos, your old passport and your money order (also signed) for $110.
Mail it by certified mail so you can track its arrival and so it doesn’t get lost in the mail.
Checking Your Passport Renewal Status – The US government has a nifty system whereby, about a week after you mail it, you can check online to see what the status of your passport renewal is. Just go here.
Getting a US passport renewed lately has been taking a lot longer than it used to. The best tip is to allow at least two months to get your new passport sent to you as, with an average processing time of 4-6 weeks, you don’t want to allow too short of a time and then not be able to travel on your planned trip as your passport renewal hasn’t yet been sent to you.
If you have other problems or questions, check out the Travel.State.Gov website.
How to Renew an Expired US Passport – Travel.State. Gov
US Passport Renewal Status – US Department of State