Passport Renewal Online
How to renew your passport online? This is a very common question. Well, I read somewhere that the U.S. government was testing online passport renewals and luckily, one of my family members needed to have their passport renewed, so this was the perfect opportunity to do so. And although there are places you can travel to without a visa, you still need a passport. Here is what happened.
Passport Renewal Appointment
Typically, if you need to renew your U.S. passport, you have to go online or to the Post Office and get a form, fill it out, supply the necessary documents and a photo, make an appointment with a local post office and once your time has arrived, get to the post office, pay for the passport and wait.
But, if you’re eligible to renew online, the cool thing is that you do not have to do any U.S. passport appointment at the post office to coincide with the application as everything is done online! Although, a friend of mine went to the post office while I was waiting for the passport to arrive and was told very sternly that passports cannot be renewed online. The guy was pretty adamant about it too; so my recommendation is not to ask at the post office… :-).
How To Get Started
Earlier this year, the U.S. government started beta testing an online passport renewal program. I first did an online search which took me to a Travel.State.gov web page that had pretty clear instructions on what to do. They have an extensive FAQ section to help you determine if you qualify. I read it and yup, my family member qualified, so I was good to go. so, Can US passport be renewed online? Yes, if you fulfill the criteria listed below from their website.
I’ve quoted the information for qualification from their website below:
“You can renew online if:
- Your most recent passport is/was valid for 10 years, and you are age 25 or older.
- Your recent passport was issued over 9 years (in 2013) but less than 15 years (in 2007) from the date you plan to submit your application. Your passport can be expired.
- You are not changing your name, gender, date of birth, or place of birth.
- You are not traveling internationally for at least six weeks from the date you will submit your application. Processing times for the online renewal service will be the same as those for renewal by mail. We will offer both routine and expedited service.
- You are applying for a regular (tourist) passport. You cannot renew a special issuance (diplomatic, official, service) passport online.
- You live in the United States (either state or territory). You do not qualify to renew online if you live in a foreign country or have an Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) address.
- You have your passport with you, and it is not damaged or mutilated, and you have not previously reported it as lost or stolen. Keep your most recent passport and do not mail it to us.
- You can pay for your passport using a credit/debit card or an ACH (Automated Clearing House) payment transferring funds from your bank account.
- You can upload a digital passport photo (.JPEG file format). Go to Uploading a Digital Photo for more information.
- You are aware that your most recent passport will be immediately invalidated (canceled) when you submit your application and you cannot use it for international travel.
If you do not qualify to renew online, you may be able to renew by mail or in-person. Go to our Renew page to learn more.”
The website briefly explained that the program was open and send me to this MyTravel.gov web page.
The MyTravelGov Website
This is the meat and potatoes of the system. This website is not only setup for passport renewals, but other travel-related businesses that you may have with the U.S. government. It seems quite useful and I’d never heard of it before then.
If you already have an account you can just sign in, otherwise, follow the instructions to create one.
- Review and accept the Privacy Statement
- Enter, Name, Middle name (if you have one) and last name
- Enter and verify your email address
- Enter you home address
- create an confirm a password
And voila after an authentication sequence, you have an account.
Now you wait 24 hours and they will send you back an email saying your account is ready and you can renew your passport online.
Now head over to the site, sign in and choose the “Renew Passport” option.
It’s pretty straight forward; just answer all the questions truthfully, supply a photo which you can take with your phone; they give you instructions on how to do it and then pay and voila, you’re done. They will send you a series of emails as the application goes through the different phases.
If you need to check on the application, just sign in to your account, choose Manage Application and you will see the status of your application. Once shipped, you even get a tracking number so you can keep track of it.
Montserrat in the Caribbean
What is the U.S. Passport Renewal Fee?
The fee you pay for the online renewal is the same as what you pay if you go in person; I paid $130 using a credit card for normal processing.
How long does it take to renew a US passport online?
Well, in the email they send back, it says 7-10 weeks for normal processing and 4-6 weeks for expedited which cost you more. Here is a timeline for my application:
- October 20, 2022: Account Created/Activated
- October 22, 2022: Account Accepted
- October 25, 2022: Received email that application is being reviewed
- December 2, 2022: Received email that passport is shipped
- December 6, 2022: Passport received via U.S. mail
So it took 46 days from the time the application was accepted.
They’ve done a really good job with it. They even have a process for helping you:
Questions about Renewing Online?
Call 855-865-7750 for support on Mondays through Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time (excluding federal holidays). Email PPTOPR@state.gov for support on weekends.
The process was seamless and I had zero issues except for the guy at the passport office who didn’t know about its existence. But in his defense, it’s in beta.
Have you tried it? Leave a comment to let me know how it went.