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In-depth Guide to U.S. Passport Renewals & Special Cases [2023]

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Alex Miller
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Alex Miller

Founder & CEO

290 Published Articles

Countries Visited: 34U.S. States Visited: 29

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business...
Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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Countries Visited: 45U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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It’s likely been at least 5 to 10 years since you received your passport, and renewing your passport after so long can be overwhelming. If your passport is up for renewal or you’ve had a special change with your passport, here’s how to get it done.

If you want to know how to get your first passport, please see our definitive guide for getting your first U.S. passport.

In this guide, you will learn about how to renew your passport, special cases, important tips, and more.

The Difference Between U.S. Passport Renewal and First-time Applications

The difference is fairly simple: if you already have a passport and meet the renewal requirements, you can renew your passport by mail instead of in person.

In fact, these are the only 2 options for getting a passport in any case.

Note that renewing your passport will cause any travel visas you have to be nullified, so plan your trips accordingly!

Hot Tip:

For more info on visa requirements, check out our piece: Do I Need a Visa? 100+ Countries with Tourist Visa Requirements for U.S. Citizens

Online Passport Application Form

Unfortunately, if you want passport renewal online, you’re currently out of luck. You can fill out the renewal form online, but it must be printed and mailed.

U.S. Passport Online Services
There are limited options available online when renewing your passport. Image Credit: U.S. Department of State

To renew your passport by mail, you will need to:

Note: There are trusted government-registered passport courier services that expedite passport renewals in as little as 24 hours.

Hot Tip:

President Biden signed an executive order in December 2021 to “improve the customer experience for…the American people,” including things such as offering online passport renewals. This process has entered testing but hasn’t been released for everyone just yet.

Requirements To Renew by Mail

If you want to be eligible for the mail renewal, then you must meet a few requirements. Luckily, the information will not be as extensive as it was when you applied for your first passport.

  • You must have your old passport, and it must be undamaged
  • Your previous passport must have been issued when you were 16 years of age or older
  • You must have been issued the passport within the last 15 years
  • Your name has not changed, or you can document your name change

If you do not meet the above requirements, you must renew your passport in person.

Providing an Updated Passport Photo

You must submit an updated passport photo of yourself from within the last 6 months. The full requirements are on the U.S. Department of State’s website, which also includes tips on places to obtain photos.

In general, the photo must be a color 2×2-inch photo in your normal clothes. You can typically have these photos taken at nationwide pharmacies and larger retailers like Walmart and Target, or you can take your own photo at home.

Photos cost between $6 to $15. However, unlike before, where you may not have stapled your photo to the application, you must staple 1 photo to the form.

To staple the photo to the DS-82 form, staple only vertically in the corners and as close to the outer edge as possible. The following photo demonstrates the technique:

Passport Photo With Staples
Once you take that new passport photo, be sure to only staple it with vertical staples in the corners as shown or you’ll have to send in a new photo! Image Credit: Ekaterina_Minaeva via Shutterstock

U.S. Passport Renewal Processing Time

Unfortunately, there is no change in processing times between getting a renewal and getting a first-time passport. The current estimated times are:

  • Standard Renewals: 10 to 13 weeks
  • Expedited Renewals: 7 to 9 weeks
  • Passport Agency Expedite: Must have international travel within 4 calendar days

Note that while you don’t have to renew your passport at any specific time (i.e. before or after it expires), you should be cognizant of the time it will take for renewal when planning your trips.

See the Tips and Facts section below for more information or if you’re specifically interested in information related to expedited passports, see our guide to expedited U.S. passport applications.

Validity Period for Renewed Passports

Renewed passports have the same length of validity as original passports.

  • If you are 16 years of age or older when you get your passport renewed, it will be valid for 10 years.
  • If you are younger than 16, your passport will be valid for 5 years.

Your passport validity period restarts at the time of renewal. Therefore, if you renew your passport at 9 years (1 year of validity left), your passport will be good for 10 and not 11 more years. For this reason, you don’t want to renew too early.

Fees for Adults

Finally, a place where you have an advantage! When renewing your passport (using form DS-82), you will NOT be required to pay the $35 execution fee required for first-time applicants.

You do, however, still have to pay for the passport, card, or both:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Applying For:Application Fee (Adults):
Passport Book$130
Passport Card$30
Passport Book + Card$160

You can still apply for an expedited renewal ($60) and overnight delivery ($19.53) if time is of the essence.

Paying the passport renewal fee by mail requires using ONLY a check or money order payable to the “U.S. Department of State.” Unfortunately, you cannot use a credit card or cash.

See the applicable Special Cases in Passports and Renewals section below more for information on fees.

Mailing in the Passport Renewal Application

Once you have gathered all the necessary items and completed the necessary paperwork, you will need to put it together to be mailed. There are a few things to note when sending in your forms and information.

  • There is a different mailing address for expedited service versus normal service
  • It is strongly recommended to use a large envelope rather than a normal business letter envelope; this helps protect your forms and also makes it easier to ship your info
  • It is strongly recommended to use a trackable delivery method

Therefore, it is probably in your best interest to take your application forms to your local USPS to have them help you choose the right size envelope. If you live in the U.S., you must use the United States Postal Service (USPS) to mail your renewal application and supporting documents.

Bottom Line:

The U.S. Department of State notes that if you use UPS, FedEx, DHL, or another company to send your application, the application will be returned to you.

The applicable addresses are as follows:

Standard Services (If You Live in California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, or Texas):
National Passport Processing Center
P.O. Box 640155
Irving, TX 75064-0155

Standard Services (All Other States or Canada):
National Passport Processing Center
P.O. Box 90155
Philadelphia, PA 19190-1955

Expedited Services (All States):

Write “EXPEDITE” on the package
National Passport Processing Center
P.O. Box 90955
Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

Hot Tip:

Earn a few extra points with shipping when you use an appropriate business credit card. An example is the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, which earns you 3x on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable, and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year.

What Happens to My Old Passport?

For those of you worried about what happens to your old passport, don’t worry. You get it back!

Many people like their old passports for nostalgia’s sake. It’s quite fun to be able to look back at all the various places you have been and see the stamps, some of which are quite neat.

Your old passport will be sent back, but separately from your new passport, so don’t worry when they don’t arrive together.

Special Cases in Passports and Renewals

Certainly, not everyone falls under the “normal” category when discussing passports.

There are a number of special cases to consider:

  • Passport card renewal
  • Name change or correction
  • Child support payers
  • Children/minors ages 16 or 17
  • Children 15 years of age and younger
  • No-fee passports
  • Life or death situations
  • Adding pages to your book
  • Lost or stolen passports
  • Replacing a limited-validity passport
  • Returning a surrendered passport
  • Renewing outside of the country

Renewing a Passport Card

You may renew a passport card by mail if you meet the above requirements. In fact, you may apply and receive a passport card by mail if you already have your passport and meet the above requirements.

Simply follow the procedure above while selecting to renew (or obtain) your passport card versus the passport book. Your passport card will be valid for 10 years from the date of issue and costs $30.

Passport Card Renewal Box
Be sure to check the box to get a passport card when you are sending in your application for a card! You can also get both of them at the same time. Image Credit: Daniel M. Earnest via Shutterstock

Passport Name Change or Correction

Name changes are probably the most common special case, given names can change due to marriage, divorce, or other reasons.

However, this process also is applicable for any corrections, such as being issued with a misspelling or other error in data.

For legal name changes, there are 2 conditions: (1) your passport was issued more than a year ago, or (2) your passport was issued within the past year.

Passports Issued More Than 1 Year Ago

If it’s case 2, unfortunately, you will have to resubmit form DS-82 as if it were a U.S. passport renewal.

You can do this at any time during the validity of your passport. However, note that if you are traveling you will need to do this as soon as possible in order to ensure you are not stopped.

You must be able to document your name change with a legal original or certified copy of a marriage certificate or other government-issued document of the change of name.

If you are not eligible to use Form DS-82 due to not having your old passport or due to damage, you cannot submit the legal documentation, or you had your passport issued more than 15 years ago, then you must apply in person using the original DS-11.

When using the DS-11 method, you will not need to provide proof of your name change if you already have another government ID issued with your new name. You must include your marriage details, however.

See the list above for all the documents you’ll need to include with your application.

Just Married Couple
If you are recently married and changed your name, you will need to make sure to update your passport ASAP because you won’t be able to travel internationally without matching documents! Image Credit: Jack Frog via Shutterstock

Passports Issued Less Than One Year Ago

If you are lucky enough to have case one, or if you need to make any general corrections, you may use form DS-5504 instead of DS-82 and you will not be charged a fee.

You will still need to provide the following documents:

  • Form DS-5504
  • Your most recent U.S. passport
  • Your original or certified name change document, such as a marriage certificate, divorce decree, or court order
  • A color passport photo

Note: General corrections can be made at any time using DS-5504.

Final Name Change Notes

All forms require you to send in your current passport and your legal documentation of your name change.

In either case, a name change requires fees if using DS-11 or DS-82 (see the applicable fees for normal applications for renewals). If you are eligible to use DS-5504, you will not be charged.

Child Support Payers

This is an important note for those who pay child support: if you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you cannot receive or renew a U.S. passport.

The U.S. Department of HHS has a list of what will prevent your application from being processed.

Be sure to stay up to date to continue getting passport privileges.

Passports for Children/Minors Ages 16 and 17

Because at this age children are still technically children and not legally adults, there are special rules for getting a passport at this age.

Renewing a U.S. passport for a child generally requires you to apply in person using form DS-11. This is because one of the requirements to use DS-82 is that you must have been issued a passport at age 16 or above.

However, this does mean that if you want to renew a child’s passport by mail, you can technically do so if your child’s passport was issued after the age of 16 and the child is now 17 years old.

Applying Alone as a 16- or 17-Year-Old

At 16 or 17 years of age, you can apply for your passport by yourself as long as you have the proper identification and accompanying information (i.e. evidence of U.S. citizenship).

If you don’t have your own identification, you will need to have a parent present that can identify you. Even if the child can apply on their own, it is recommended they have parental consent or parental awareness when applying.

This is simply having at least 1 parent accompanying the child, or having a signed statement of consent to the issuance of a passport along with a photocopy of that parent’s ID.

The appropriate fees apply to those ages 16 and up, depending on if you are using the DS-11 (first-time applicant) or the DS-82 (renewal, special case) — $160 for a book and a card, $130 for just the book, and $30 for the card. A $35 execution fee applies to the DS-11.

Passports for Children 15 and Younger

Regardless of having a previous passport, all minors under 16 must apply for their updated child passport in person as if it was their first, following all of the applicable rules.

This will be with Form DS-11. The same fees apply each time.

Young Child Getting Passport
If you want to get your child a passport (under 16 years old), then you’ll have to apply in person for it. Its validity is only 5 years versus 10. Image Credit: Ponzakov via Shutterstock

Obtaining No-fee Passports

If you’ve heard of a no-fee passport, you may wonder if you can get one!

There are only very specific people that are eligible for a no-fee passport:

  • You are a U.S. government employee traveling abroad on behalf of the U.S.
  • You are a dependent of someone traveling abroad for the U.S. government and will travel with them
  • You are an immediate relative of a deceased member of the military and are going abroad to visit the grave or attend a funeral or memorial service
  • There may be additional exceptions on a special basis

Depending on what circumstance applies to you, you will need to contact the appropriate agency that you are part of and they will direct you from there.

It is of note that you can only use this passport when traveling for official duties. This means that you may have both a regular and a no-fee passport concurrently.

Emergency Passports: Life or Death Situations

In instances where expediting the passport is not enough, and it is a life or death emergency, you must call the passport information center during business hours at 877-487-2778 or TDD/TTY 888-874-7793 to schedule an appointment.

Your appointment date can be scheduled up to 2 weeks before your international travel, but the date of your appointment must be within 3 business days of your international travel date.

Adding Pages to Your Book

You cannot add pages to your passport book. Instead, you must apply for an entirely new passport. You can do this as a renewal using DS-82 if you meet the eligibility requirements discussed above.

Lost or Stolen Passport

If you lose your passport or it is stolen, you should report it immediately. This helps prevent identity theft.

Here is one thing you can do online! Submit DS-64 online for your lost passport.

You will receive an email acknowledging the submittal and, within a couple of days, you will receive confirmation that the loss was entered into the appropriate database.

In lieu of submitting the passport online, you can call 877-487-2778 or complete form DS-64 by hand and mail it.

Hot Tip:

No matter the method you choose, you’ll still need to fill out an Application for a U.S. Passport (DS-11) if you’d like to reapply for a new passport.

If you find a lost passport, you may mail it back to the U.S. Department of State, in a sturdy envelope, to the following address:

U.S. Department of State
Consular Lost and Stolen Passport Unit (CLASP)
CA/PPT/S/TO/LE
44132 Mercure Circle
P.O. Box 1227
Sterling, VA 20166-1227

Once your passport is reported lost or stolen or is received by someone sending in a found passport, it will be inactivated and can no longer be used.

Therefore, if you find your passport after it has been reported lost, you need to submit it to the address on the back of the DS-64.

If you request it, they will cancel the passport and send it back to you. Otherwise, the passport will be destroyed. The passport also will not be able to be used to renew or apply for a new passport.

To apply for a new passport, you must go in person and submit form DS-11, and provide your proof of citizenship again.

Replace a Limited-validity Passport

A limited-validity passport is one whose validity date is less than 10 years and is likely provided for special instances, such as losing your passport overseas or being under the age of 16. Other special cases may be gender transitions or naturalization certificate replacements. See the website for additional information.

If your limited-validity passport was issued less than 1 year ago, you will not have to pay any fees except in the case of expediting. Submit DS-5504 by mail with your passport and a new passport photo.

If it was issued more than 1 year ago and less than 15 years ago, you may submit DS-82 by mail per the normal renewal application process.

Returning a Surrendered Passport

Sometimes, you may be required to surrender a passport. If you want it returned, you must follow the steps on this page.

Renewing a Passport Outside the U.S.

To renew your U.S. passport outside the U.S., you must use the same process as when you first applied for the passport. This means finding and renewing at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

However, if you reside in Canada, you may utilize the same renewal process as inside the U.S. and use form DS-82. You must ensure that payments draw from U.S. financial institutions.

US Embassy Entrance
If you live in Canada, you can still apply for an American passport renewal using form DS-82. You have to draw payments from a U.S. financial institution, however. Image Credit: David P. Lewis via Shutterstock

Tips and Facts

Here are a few tips and facts about passports that you may not know:

You can technically renew your passport at any time during its validity period. The new validity will be 10 years from whenever you are issued your new passport.

Your passport will be sent back via Priority Mail so that there is delivery confirmation — unless you choose overnight delivery. Your passport card is sent via First-Class Mail and cannot be overnighted.

Important Validity Grace Period Requirements for Travel

Some countries do not allow you to enter the country if you have less than 6 months remaining on your passport.

Therefore, it’s smart to plan ahead and get your passport renewed when you’re about a year out so that you have plenty of time to get it done.

Nothing would be worse than flying somewhere and planning a trip, only to be stopped at the border control and turned around, and sent home. Some notable countries with the 6-month validity rule are:

  • China
  • Egypt
  • Singapore
  • Thailand

Check out the U.S. Department of State’s detailed information by country for validity rules by destination.

Damaged Passport Requirements

If your passport has been significantly damaged, you will need to apply for a new one. This includes water damage, tears, unofficial markings on the data page, missing (torn) pages, punches, and more.

You will need to reapply for a new passport using DS-11, apply in person, and provide all required documentation as well as the damaged passport.

Other Passport Special Cases

If a loved one has passed away, you may submit their passport for cancellation by mailing it in.

If your passport has been reported as sent out in the passport application status system, and you have not received it, you should report it to the National Passport Information Center.

If not reported within 90 days of the passport being officially issued, then you will be required to reapply and pay all the applicable fees.

If you’re using a passport card for expedited travel from Canada or Mexico, everyone in your car over the age of 16 must have an RFID-enabled card.

Final Thoughts

The passport renewal form is DS-82. You must already have a current passport and meet other requirements to use this form.

There is no passport application online at this time; you must instead print and fill out the passport renewal forms and either take them in person or send them in by mail.

Before Your Next Trip

You’ve got your passport renewed or changed! Now, grab your travel rewards cards and get ready for another trip. The following links will help you get started:


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Passport Renewal & Special Cases

Frequently Asked Questions

What information do I need to renew my U.S. passport?

You must have your old, undamaged passport, a new passport photo, appropriate fees, and the correct DS-82 form. If you are renewing to change your name, you must also submit legal documentation proving your name change.

How do I get or renew a U.S. passport online?

Unfortunately, there is no U.S. online passport application at this time. Passport renewal forms can only be submitted in person or via mail (depending on the form). Online passport renewal may be offered in the future. However, on a positive note, President Biden signed an executive order in December 2021 to offer online passport renewals! This renewal is already being tested, so hopefully this available to everyone in the near future!

How do you get a U.S. passport for a child or minor?

The U.S. passport application for minors is different depending on your age. If a child is under the age of 16, both parents must be present and you must apply in person using form DS-11. If the child is of age 16 or 17, they can apply in person themselves if they can provide their own documentation and identification.

How long does it take to get a U.S. passport renewed?

Passport application renewal takes the same amount of time as a regular passport takes: approximately 10 to 13 weeks for standard service, 7 to 9 weeks for expedited service, or up to 3 days for agency expediting (only available if you have evidence of upcoming international travel within 14 days.

How much does it cost to get a U.S. passport renewed?

Passport application renewal costs the same amount as a regular passport whether you are a minor or an adult. This fee is $130 for the passport book and $30 for the passport card. However, you don’t have the pay the $35 execution fee again.

What is my U.S. passport renewal application status?

You may check your passport application status on the U.S. Department of State’s website. This site does not track special-issuance passports.

How long are renewed passports good for?

The validity period for renewed passports is the same as it was for your original passport. An adult passport (ages 16+) is good for 10 years from the date of issue. A minor passport (younger than 16) is good for 5 years from the date of issue.

What forms do I use for passport renewal?

If you are eligible, you may use form DS-82 and send in your renewal application by mail. If you are not eligible to send in the application by mail, you must use form DS-11 and apply in person. If you are making a change or correction, you may use form DS-5504.

How do I renew my passport card?

Your passport card may be renewed by mail using form DS-82 if you already have a valid passport.

How do I replace a lost or stolen passport?

Lost or stolen passports must be reapplied for in person using form DS-11. You must provide proof of citizenship and pay the applicable fees, including the $35 execution fee.

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About Alex Miller

Founder and CEO of Upgraded Points, Alex is a leader in the industry and has earned and redeemed millions of points and miles. He frequently discusses the award travel industry with CNBC, Fox Business, The New York Times, and more.

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