Government paperwork is not always written in the most user-friendly manner, and passport renewal forms are no exception.  Unfortunately, if you make a mistake filling it out or you don’t send in the required documentation, your new passport could be delayed. Here’s what you need to know to keep the gears of bureaucracy turning smoothly when you apply:

Passport Renewal Eligibility

Not everyone is eligible to renew their passport by mail. Read through the checklist on the first page of passport renewal form DS-82 to be sure that you are eligible for a passport renewal before you start filling it out.  You need to meet all of the following qualifications:

  • Your passport has not been lost or stolen, and you can send it in with the application.
  • Your passport was issued to you less than 15 years ago, and it was issued after your 16th birthday.
  • You have legal paperwork (such as a marriage certificate or court order) to support a name change request, if applicable.

To clarify, your passport must also be undamaged. “Normal wear and tear” is okay, but what constitutes “normal wear and tear” is left to the discretion of the Department of State. If you have any concerns about the condition of your passport, it’s best to go ahead and apply in person using Form DS-11.

Filling Out the Form

Carefully read through the “Acts or Conditions” section on page 4 of the instructions. If any of these conditions apply to you, you must write a separate, explanatory statement and attach it to the passport renewal form. Having to attach a statement won’t necessarily bar you from getting a passport, but the Department of State will take it into account when they process your application.

Next, go through and carefully fill out the form using black ink, making sure that your writing is legible. Or, fill it out on the computer and print it.

Common Trouble Spots

  • Don’t forget to select the documents you want at the top of the first page of the application.
  • Don’t forget to sign the bottom of the first page.
  • The information requested on the form is necessary to process your application. Don’t skip questions. However, on page 2, the form asks about when and where you plan to travel. You don’t need concrete travel plans to renew your passport. Here, it’s okay to say “Not applicable.”

Documents Required

Include the following with your passport renewal form:

  • Your current passport.
  • One passport photo
  • A personal check or money order for the required amount made out to the “Department of State.” See examples here.
  • If you need to change your name on your new passport, include legal documents to support your request.

If you’ve applied for regular service, you need to allow at least six weeks from the time you put the passport renewal form in the mail for your new passport to arrive. For expedited service from the Department of State, you’ll pay an additional $60 to receive it in about three weeks.

If you don’t have enough time, you can make an appointment at one of the country’s 24 regional passport agency offices. This can be a headache, logistically speaking, especially if you don’t have one nearby. A private company like RushMyPassport can make the process quicker and easier. We personally deliver your passport renewal form right to the Department of State, for processing in as little as 24 hours.

For a simple, streamlined passport renewal experience, contact us today!