A valid U.S. passport is required for American citizens to travel internationally. This government-issued form of identification is only valid for 10 years after issuance. You will need to apply for a passport renewal when your passport expires. If your passport expired within the last five years and is undamaged, you can renew your passport by mailing an application to the Department of State. If your passport is damaged or expired more than five years ago, you will need to renew your passport in person.
Before you submit an application for a passport renewal, you will need to determine which form applies to your situation. Form DS-82 is a passport renewal form for passport holders who received their passport within the last 15 years and still possess the undamaged passport. Use the renewal form only if you still possess your passport, it is not damaged and it has not expired or expired within the last five years.
If you do not possess your most recent passport, your passport was damaged or your passport expired longer than five years ago, you will need to use Form DS-11. This form is also used for first-time passport applicants. Since you do not have a recent, undamaged passport to process your renewal, you will need to renew your passport through the same procedures as a first-time applicant.
How to Apply
How you apply for your passport renewal depends on which form you are eligible to complete. If you are eligible to complete Form DS-82, you must mail your application to the National Passport Processing Center in Pennsylvania. For regular processing, mail your application to the National Passport Processing Center at Post Office Box 90155, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155. If you need your passport renewal expedited, send your application to the National Passport Processing Center at Post Office Box 90955, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155
If you are using Form DS-11 to renew your passport, you will need to submit your application in person. The Department of State website has a search tool that allows you to locate nearby passport acceptance facilities (see Resources). Verify the location’s hours of operation before appearing in person at the facility. You may also wish to make an appointment to avoid long waiting periods.
If you are renewing your passport by mail, you must include your most recent passport, two acceptable passport photographs and payment for the passport renewal fee. The Department of State will only accept 2-inch by 2-inch color photographs with an unobstructed frontal view of the applicants head. The fee must be paid by money order or personal check. Current renewal fees are listed on the Department of State’s website. As of 2009, the passport renewal fee was $75. If your current name differs from the one shown on your previous passport, you must also submit a legal document that verifies the legality of the name change. A marriage certificate or court order is acceptable proof of a name change.
If you are renewing your passport in person, you must bring the same documents as a first-time applicant. This includes proof of citizenship, government-issued identification, two passport photographs and fee payment. Passport acceptance facilities may accept cash and credit cards, but this varies by location. Also, an execution fee must be paid separately to the facility. As of 2009, this fee was $25.