Passport Renewal by Mail

passport renewal

If you plan to travel outside the United States, it is imperative that you carry a passport. In fact, a new law was passed recently that made passports mandatory for travel by sea (cruise) or air (airplane) to Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean. And as of January 1st, 2008, travel by land to these countries will require a passport as well.

Also note that if your passport is expiring in the coming months, some countries will not allow you to enter their borders if there isn’t ample enough time left on the passport before it expires (typically six months). And if you have limited blank pages available in your passport, you may also be denied entry. Make sure you have 2-4 pages available for visa stamping.

So how do renew your passport?

First things first, you should give yourself plenty of time to renew your passport, especially with the recent increased demand. Passport renewals take time, and if you leave it late, you may not be able to take your international trip.

Passport Renewal by Mail

If your current passport was issued in the past 15 years, was issued when you were at least 16 years of age, is not damaged, and still in your legal name, you may renew your passport by mail.

First fill out the application form here. Make sure it is signed and dated!

Then attach it to your most recent passport, along with two recent passport-sized photographs, and a $67 check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State.

Mail it in a padded envelope to:

National Passport Processing
P.O. Box 13349
Philadelphia, PA 19101-3349

Expedited Passport Renewal

If you can’t wait, and you need your passport renewed asap, you can request expedited service in the following way:

Follow the steps above, but also include $60 per renewal on top of the $67 renewal fee, plus the cost of overnight shipping. It is recommended that you also ship your envelope via overnight shipping to get it into processing without delay. Make sure you clearly write “Expedited” on the envelope to ensure it is processed accordingly.

It should take about 2-3 weeks to receive your passport through the expedited service. If you are traveling soon and have not received your passport, you can contact National Passport Information Center.

Keep in mind that there are also third-party “passport renewal” companies that will attempt to get your passport renewed in a week. They can be quite expensive however, and should be reserved for near emergencies only.

Remember, passports are becoming increasingly important as national security continues to be threatened. Make sure your passport is still valid and in good condition before planning your next international trip!