How Long Does it Take to Renew a Passport 
How Long Does it Take to Renew a Passport
If you’re planning a trip overseas, the sooner you get your passport, the better. Processing times can be lengthy depending on when you plan to leave so it’s a good idea to learn about how long does it take renew a passport so you can be prepared ahead of time.
Have you ever been overseas before? Has it been years since your last adventure out of the country? These are just two of the many situations that make people wonder how long does it take to renew a passport.
Getting a passport renewal isn’t exactly like getting a new driver’s license or ordering another debit card. It’s a long process for some and a short, quick task for others.
As such, the exact time it will take for you to renew your passport is hard to predict. The timeline depends on everything from your eligibility to how you apply and even how close to the time of your trip you apply. It all adds up, and sometimes, cuts a passport’s arrival too close for comfort.
For a better understanding of how the process works, keep reading to discover some things that can play into when you get your new passport.
Figuring Out Your Passport Eligibility
First things first, figure out if you’re even eligible to get a new passport. The main requirements are for you to be a US citizen and have your old passport on hand and in good condition. If you lost your passport or it was stolen, you may have to treat the process as if you’re applying for a passport for the first time instead of a passport renewal.
Other things to be aware of are whether or not your previous passport was issued when you were 16 years or older and within the past 15 years. If you were under the age of 16 or if the last time you needed a passport was more than 15 years ago, you may have a few other hoops to jump through before renewing.
The good news is that if you do meet all the requirements, though, you can order your renewal in the mail. Just send in a DS-82 form, your old passport, a new passport photo, and the $110 renewal fee to the government and you’ll be all set.
Note, if you want to keep your expired passport for old time’s sake, let the government know. They’re happy to send it back, but they won’t always do so if you don’t make the effort to tell them.
Documenting Important Changes
Let’s say you meet all the basic requirements of getting a new passport, but you’ve changed your name. Maybe you got married, divorced, or simply decided it was time for something new.
Whatever the reason you now go by something other than your birth name, you need to tell the government about this before you send in your renewal paperwork. Failing to do so can create a back and forth between you and them, prolonging the total amount of time until your new passport is in your hands. If your trip is around the corner, you can’t afford for this silly mistake to cost you more time.
Applying in Person Versus Online or Via Mail
Here’s another thing that may cause your passport to take longer than necessary, how you actually apply. You have three choices: go to a government agency in person, apply in the mail, or apply instantly online.
Going in person may sound like your best bet, but it’s not actually a guarantee. You need an appointment to get face time with someone at a regional passport agency. Not to mention, you won’t get your passport on the same day even if you do score a meeting before your trip comes up.
Standard mail won’t always be fast enough, and online applications usually have a long waiting list. So, what can you do?
Invest in an expedited passport renewal process. You can usually only do this if your trip is in less than two weeks or if there is some sort of emergency causing you to travel unexpectedly. Either way, it’s pretty much your best bet to get your passport as fast as possible.
Expedited passports don’t come cheap. Be prepared to pay more than the renewal fee and do your research before choosing one service over another. Some services will only offer one renewal process while others have different ways of getting your passport to you.
The latter will give you the option of expedited processing in person as well as via mail. In person means someone will check on your paperwork every day even if you don’t have the ability to do so, then the service ships your passport to you.
Asking for an expedited passport via mail means you have to rush the application and double-check for mistakes. Instead of having the employees of an outside service available to check on your progress every day, you’re basically hoping the agency receives your application in time and sends your passport back just as fast.
The final thing that plays into how long getting a passport renewal will take is the timing in which you do so. If you’re 2 weeks out or less from your trip, you better invest in expedited services and cross your fingers.
On the other hand, if you don’t plan to travel for a few months but you just want to get this out of the way, you may have to take a breather. You don’t necessarily qualify for a fast renewal just because you want one. There needs to be a pressing issue in order for you to be expedited eligible.
Find Out How Long Does It Take to Renew a Passport for Yourself
Now that you know a thing or two about what goes into getting a passport renewal, you can see why there’s no definitive answer to the question of how long does it take to renew a passport.
One thing that is for sure, though, is that the longer you wait, the longer you’ll be waiting until your new passport is in your hands. If this is a thought you’d rather not think about, you better go get your new passport picture and fill out the proper forms for your situation!
For help with your passport renewal process, click here.