How do you know if you should renew your old passport or simply apply for a new one? Can you renew your passport if your old passport is expired? Here’s how to know for sure:

Passport Renewal

If you meet all of the qualifications listed below, you can renew your passport instead of having to apply for a new one:

  • You were 16 or older when you applied for your most recent passport.
  • You still have your most recent US passport, and it is undamaged and in good condition.
  • Your passport is no more than 15 years old.
  • If you’ve changed your name since your last passport was issued, you have legal documentation to support the name change.

New Passport

  • If your passport has been lost or damaged, you must apply in person for a new passport.
  • If you were under the age of 16 when you got your current passport, you need to apply for a new one.
  • If you’re passport is more than 15 years old, you’ll need a new one.
  • If you’ve changed your name and don’t have the applicable paperwork, you’ll also need to apply for a new passport.

What’s the difference between applying for a passport renewal instead of a new passport? Passport renewals can be done through the mail. Applicants can visit their local post office for the application or fill it out online: Passport Renewal Form DS-82. Be sure to include a recent passport photo along with a check for government fees, and include your recent passport.

When applying for a new passport, you have to go in person to a passport acceptance facility and fill out form DS-11, Application for a New Passport. Since you have to apply in person, you’ll pay a $35.00 execution fee in addition to the fees listed above.  Plus, you’ll need to bring proof of identity and proof of citizenship.

After you’ve submitted your application, all you have to do is have patience and wait for your passport to arrive in the mail. It can take 6-8 weeks for regular government service, and expedited service through the government takes at around 2-3 weeks.

Apply for your passport faster

If you need your passport sooner than that, a private passport expediting company can help.  For an additional fee, an expediting company will help you with your passport paperwork and deliver it by hand to the Department of State for faster processing. With an expediting company, you can have your passport processed in as little as 24 hours, although there are various processing times and price points available to meet your needs.

Don’t get stuck waiting for your passport-apply for a passport renewal or a new passport today!