US passports issued to Americans over 16 years of age are valid for 10 years. During that time, your appearance could change greatly. You could gain weight, lose weight, change your hairstyle, etc-leaving you looking like a completely different person!

Should you renew a valid passport if your appearance has changed since you last had your photo taken? In most cases, it’s not necessary-but it might not be a bad idea, either, especially if you’re traveling to Kenya. According to this article on, a Canadian woman was detained in Kenya because she no longer looked exactly like her passport photo, even though she had other forms of identification. She was kept in a jail in Kenya for 8 days, and had to pay $2,500 in bail.

If your passport is valid, you shouldn’t have to renew it until 9 months before it expires.  In most cases, you’ll be able to travel without any problems as long as your passport is valid and you have enough visa pages.  However, when traveling overseas, you’re at the mercy of the officials in the country that you’re traveling in. The US Embassy will do everything in its power to help you if you have problems, but it’s always better to avoid issues like this whenever possible. So, if you look like a completely different person than you did 5 years ago, renewing your passport early may help your trip go more smoothly.

If you need to renew your passport before your next trip, remember to allow enough time for the new passport to arrive in the mail. Currently, it’s taking at least 6 weeks to process a passport application with normal processing. If you apply for the government’s expedited service, you can still expect to wait at least 3 weeks for your passport. If you need to renew your passport in a hurry, the easiest way to do it is to use a private passport expediting company.  An expediting company can help you get your passport application processed more quickly, often as fast as 24 hours!

Why stress about getting your new passport? Renew your passport with us today!