Applying for a passport renewal early and in a timely fashion will keep your travel options open. This post will help you understand how to apply for a passport renewal and when you should apply for your passport renewal. Don’t miss an upcoming trip because of lengthy processing delays or an invalid passport due to the six month validity rule.

How to Apply for a Passport Renewal

You might be tempted to try to keep your current passport for as long as possible, but don’t. The Department of State recommends that you apply for your passport renewal nine months before it expires. This isn’t an attempt to squeeze extra money out of you-many countries actually require that your passport be valid for a full six months or they’ll deny you entry, even if you don’t plan to stay in the country that long. This is also known as the six month validity rule.

Where to Apply for a Passport Renewal

The good news about applying for a passport renewal is that in many cases you can apply by mail. You are eligible to simply mail in your application if all of the following statements are true:

  • You still have your current passport in your possession, and it hasn’t been damaged (normal wear and tear is generally okay.)
  • Your passport was issued no more than 15 years ago, and it was issued after your 16th birthday.
  • If you’ve changed your name since it was issued, you have legal documents like a marriage certificate or divorce decree to support that request.

If any of the statements above don’t apply to you, you need to apply in person, just like the first time. See How to Apply for a New Passport for details.

Required Passport Renewal Documents and Fees

If you are eligible to apply by mail, all you’ll need is a completed copy of passport renewal form DS-82 along with your current passport, one new passport photo and name change documents, if applicable.  Send these in to the address on the form, along with $110 for the passport renewal fees. Add an additional $30 if you would like a wallet-sized passport card in addition to your passport book, and another $60 if you need expedited processing.

Processing Time for a Passport Renewal

If you applied for regular processing, you may have to wait 6-8 weeks or longer to get your passport. For expedited processing under normal travel circumstances, you should allow 3 weeks. If you need your passport sooner than that, you have two options. The first is to make an appointment at one of the country’s regional passport agencies. The second is to use a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport to expedite your application, no appointment or additional travel needed. We personally deliver your paperwork to the Department of State, for processing in as little as 24 hours!

Apply for your passport renewal today!