For an entire decade, your passport has been one of your closest companions, accompanying you all across the world. However, all good things must come to an end one day. Passports issued after the bearer reaches the age of 16 will remain valid for ten years, though you will probably need to renew yours sooner than that. Many countries will not allow you past immigration unless your passport has at least 6 months left before it expires.

To avoid potential crises related to the “Six-month rule,” the Department of State recommends that you apply for a renewal at least nine months before the expiration date. Here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll need to renew your passport successfully.

Renewing By Mail

One nice thing about renewing your passport versus applying for the first time is that you can often complete the whole process by mail.  You may renew your passport by mail as long as you meet all of the qualifications:

  • Your current passport has not been lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Your current passport was issued after your 16th birthday, and it is either still valid or has been expired for less than 5 years.
  • Either your current passport was issued under the name you are currently using, OR you can provide official documentation to back up your name change request.

To renew your passport by mail, fill out passport renewal Form DS-82 and send it in with the following documents:

If you are not eligible to renew by mail, the procedure is the same as if you were applying for the first time. See How to Apply for a New Passport for details.

Expect to wait at least six weeks for your passport renewal to be processed, unless you decided to spring for expedited processing (an additional $60 fee). If you paid the extra fee, the Department of State will generally be able to finish processing your application in about three weeks.

If you need to renew your passport more quickly, you can make an appointment at one of the State Department’s twenty-four regional passport agency offices, or save time and save on travel by using a private company like RushMyPassport. We personally rush your application to the Department of State for priority processing, often in as little as 24 hours.

Let us help you renew your passport today!