Step-by-Step Guide on How to Renew Your US Passport

Renewing your U.S. passport is a crucial task for any traveler. Whether your passport is expiring soon or you’ve run out of pages, ensuring that your travel documents are up-to-date is essential for hassle-free international travel. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of renewing your U.S. passport, from gathering necessary documents to tracking your application status.

Key Takeaways

  • Ensure you have all necessary documents, including your current passport, a completed DS-82 form, and a recent passport photo.
  • Follow the specific photo requirements to avoid delays in your application process.
  • Double-check your completed renewal form for common mistakes before submitting it by mail or in person.
  • Be aware of the costs involved, including the standard renewal fee and any additional fees for expedited service.
  • Track your application status online and know what steps to take if there are any delays.

Gathering the Necessary Documents

Before you start the process to renew your passport by mail, make sure you have all the necessary documents ready. This will save you time and prevent any delays in your application.

What You Need to Renew Your Passport

To renew your passport, you’ll need the following:

  • Your most recent passport
  • A completed Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82
  • A passport photo that meets the requirements
  • Evidence of U.S. citizenship (if your previous passport was issued more than 15 years ago)
  • Current ID

Where to Find the Forms

You can find the Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82 on the U.S. State Department website. Make sure to fill out the form online and print it. Do not sign the form until instructed to do so.

Tips for Organizing Your Documents

  1. Confirm you meet the requirements for renewing your passport by mail.
  2. Gather all necessary documents and make photocopies where needed.
  3. Use a checklist to ensure you have everything before mailing your application.

Being organized and thorough with your documentation can significantly speed up the renewal process.

Taking the Perfect Passport Photo

How To Renew Us Passport

Passport Photo Requirements

When renewing your U.S. passport, it’s crucial to follow the required photo criteria to avoid any delays. Your photo must be in color, taken within the last six months, and clearly show your face. Avoid wearing glasses, hats, or any headgear unless it’s for religious purposes. The background should be plain white or off-white, and the photo should be 2 x 2 inches in size.

Where to Get Your Photo Taken

Getting a passport photo taken is easier than ever. You can have your passport photo taken at:

  • Photography businesses
  • Drugstores with a photo department
  • Print, mail, and copy stores

However, a photo taken at a store does not guarantee that it will be accepted as a passport photo. Make sure your photo matches the required criteria.

DIY Passport Photo Tips

If you prefer to take your own passport photo, here are some tips to ensure it meets the standards:

  1. Use a high-resolution camera.
  2. Stand in front of a plain white or off-white background.
  3. Ensure even lighting to avoid shadows on your face.
  4. Keep a neutral expression with both eyes open.
  5. Print the photo on matte or glossy photo paper.

Remember, submit a recent photo taken in the last 6 months to avoid any issues with your application.

Filling Out the Passport Renewal Form

How To Renew Us Passport

Step-by-Step Guide to Form DS-82

Filling out the Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82 is straightforward if you follow these steps:

  1. Download the Form: Visit the U.S. State Department website and download the DS-82 form.
  2. Complete the Form: Fill out the form with your personal information. Make sure to double-check for accuracy.
  3. Attach a Photo: You will need to attach a passport photo to the form. Ensure it meets the photo requirements.
  4. Include Name Change Documents: If your name has changed, include certified copies of the legal name change documents.
  5. Review and Sign: Review all the information and sign the form.

Remember, the form must be filled out completely and accurately to avoid delays.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these common mistakes when filling out your DS-82 form:

  • Incomplete Information: Ensure all fields are filled out.
  • Incorrect Photo: Make sure your photo meets the requirements.
  • Missing Documents: Include all necessary documents, especially if your name has changed.

How to Sign the Form Correctly

Signing the form correctly is crucial. Here’s how to do it:

  • Use Black Ink: Always use black ink to sign the form.
  • Match Your Signature: Your signature should match the one on your current passport.
  • Sign Within the Box: Make sure your signature stays within the designated box on the form.

A properly signed form ensures your application is processed without any hitches.

Submitting Your Renewal Application by Mail

Renewing your passport by mail is a convenient option if you meet certain criteria. Make sure your passport is undamaged and was issued within the last 15 years. If you meet these requirements, follow the steps below to ensure a smooth process.

Packaging Your Documents Safely

When preparing to mail your renewal application, it’s crucial to package your documents securely. Use a sturdy envelope and consider using a trackable mailing service for added security. Include all necessary documents, such as your completed Form DS-82, your current passport, and any additional documentation required for name changes.

Where to Mail Your Application

You need to send your application to the correct address based on your location and the type of service you are requesting. The U.S. State Department’s passport site provides the most up-to-date mailing addresses. Double-check the address to avoid any delays.

Tracking Your Application Status

After mailing your application, you can track its status. Depending on the mailing method, you should be able to track the envelope to ensure delivery. Once confirmed, you can call 877-487-2778 or request a status update online after 7 to 10 business days.

Remember, all information is subject to change, so consult the U.S. State Department’s passport site for the most up-to-date information.

Paying the Renewal Fees

How Much Does It Cost?

When renewing your passport, the fees you pay depend on several factors, including your age and the type of document you need. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Document Type Fee
Passport Book $130
Passport Card $30
Both $160

Remember, these fees are per person. Expedited services will cost you an additional $60, and if you need it even faster, you can pay for expedited delivery (one to two days) for an extra $19.53.

Accepted Payment Methods

You can pay your passport renewal fees using various methods. Accepted payment methods include:

  • Personal checks
  • Money orders
  • Credit or debit cards (if applying in person)

Make sure your payment is made out to the “U.S. Department of State” if you’re mailing your application.

Additional Costs for Expedited Service

If you’re in a hurry, you might want to consider expedited services. This will cost you an extra $60 per person. Additionally, for even faster service, you can opt for expedited delivery, which costs $19.53. Remember that fees may be subject to change, so it’s always a good idea to check with your acceptance facility in advance.

It’s important to know that the fees you pay depend on: your age; if you want a passport book, passport card, or both documents; how fast you need your passport, and; where you are applying from.

Renewing Your Passport In Person

How To Renew Us Passport

If you don’t meet the criteria to renew your passport by mail, you’ll need to apply in person. This process is straightforward, but you need to be prepared with the right documents and information. Here’s what you need to know:

When You Need to Apply In Person

You must apply in person if any of the following apply:

  1. Your passport was issued when you were under 16 years old.
  2. Your passport was issued more than 15 years ago.
  3. Your passport is damaged or lost.
  4. You need to change your name and don’t have legal documentation.
  5. This is your first time applying for a passport.

What to Bring to the Passport Office

Before heading to the passport office, make sure you have the following:

  • A filled-out DS-82 form.
  • Your most recent passport.
  • Name change documents (such as a marriage certificate), if applicable.
  • A passport photo taken in the past six months.

Don’t forget to bring evidence of U.S. citizenship and a current ID.

Finding a Passport Acceptance Facility

You can find a passport acceptance facility at various locations, including:

  • Post offices
  • Libraries
  • Local government offices

To locate the nearest facility, visit the U.S. State Department’s website and use their search tool. Make sure to check the hours of operation and whether you need an appointment.

Applying in person might seem daunting, but with the right preparation, it can be a smooth process. Just make sure to gather all necessary documents and confirm the requirements beforehand.

Checking the Status of Your Renewal

How To Renew Us Passport

How to Track Your Application

Once you’ve submitted your application, you can request a status update 7 to 10 business days after submission. You can do this using the U.S. State Department website or by calling 877-487-2778. To get your passport application status, you will need your application locator number, which you can find by checking the online passport status system.

What to Do If There’s a Delay

If there’s a delay in processing your application, don’t panic. Delays can happen for various reasons, such as high application volumes or incomplete documentation. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Double-check that all your documents were submitted correctly.
  2. Contact the passport agency for an update.
  3. Consider expediting your application if you need your passport urgently.

Contacting the Passport Agency for Help

If you need further assistance, you can contact the passport agency directly. They can provide more detailed information about your application status and help resolve any issues. You can reach them at 877-487-2778 or through their online contact form.

Remember, patience is key. Processing times can vary, but staying informed will help ease the process.


Renewing your US passport might seem like a daunting task, but with the right information and a bit of preparation, it can be a smooth process. Whether you choose to renew by mail or in person, make sure you have all the necessary documents and follow the steps outlined in this guide. Remember, the key is to start the process well before your travel date to avoid any last-minute stress. Safe travels and happy adventures!

Note: The information provided in this guide is intended to assist you in the process of renewing your U.S. passport. However, policies and procedures may change. It is strongly recommended that you verify all details and requirements on the official U.S. Department of State website or contact their customer service directly to ensure you have the most current information. This will help you avoid any potential delays or issues with your application.

Frequently Asked Questions

What documents do I need to renew my US passport?

You will need your most recent passport, a completed Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82, a passport photo taken within the last six months, and any name change documents if applicable.

How much does it cost to renew a US passport?

The cost to renew a passport book is $130, a passport card is $30, and both are $160. Expedited service costs an additional $60.

Can I renew my passport online?

As of now, online passport renewal services have been paused. You can renew by mail if you are eligible.

Where can I get the Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82?

You can download the Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82 from the U.S. State Department website.

How can I track the status of my passport renewal application?

You can track the status of your passport renewal application online through the U.S. State Department’s website or by contacting their customer service.

What should I do if there’s a delay in my passport renewal?

If there’s a delay in your passport renewal, you should contact the U.S. State Department’s passport agency for assistance.

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