Although you can renew a passport by mail, some instances require that you submit your application in person. Obviously, you'll want to know exactly where you need to go to renew your passport.
You will need to show up in person at a passport agency for the following reasons:
You are applying for your first passport. You are renewing your passport and your last passport was issued when you were under 16 years of age. Your passport was lost, stolen or damaged. You're renewing and your last passport was issued 15 years ago or more. *Your last name has changed since your last passport, and you don't have hard documented proof of the change for renewal.
The process for renewing in these instances is identical to applying for a new passport.
There are two types of passport facilities: regional passport agencies and acceptance facilities. Regional passport agencies are in major cities and population centers around the United States, namely New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami, Los Angeles, Colorado, Seattle, Houston, Honolulu, San Francisco, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Connecticut and Chicago. These agencies serve the regional populations of the respective area. An appointment is required. You can renew your passport there and should do so if you need your passport for international travel within two weeks or if you need it to get a foreign visa within four weeks.
Acceptance facilities are much more widespread and easier to access for most Americans. They include locations such as post offices, state, municipal and county government offices, courthouses and public libraries. Each location is designated by the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Passport Services as an acceptance facility. Acceptance facilities can process your renewal (except for the rush situations discussed above). You can find a location near you by visiting the Department of State's website
In addition to a regular regional passport agency, Washington, D.C., is home to a special issuance agency. This agency processes applications for diplomatic, official and congressional referrals and no-fee passports for government personnel and officials, including military and federal employees.
When renewing your passport, bring all necessary information, including proof of citizenship, proof of identity, two identical passport photos and a check for payment.
If you are a U.S. citizen living abroad, you can renew your passport at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you're living in Canada, you can submit your application by mail as well.