If you’re a new or long-time international traveler planning on a vacation abroad or just being sent by your company for a business venture, there are few things about the passport renewal process of which you should be aware. As a powerful travel document recognized across the world, the US passport has an intricate renewal procedure designed to match the bureaucracy of its government. With the right help and a little time, there’s no reason you can’t get your passport renewed with plenty of breathing room before your flight.
How long does it take to renew a passport?
For travelers who already have a ten-year passport – assuming it wasn’t issued more than fifteen years ago – there is the option of applying for a renewal in person at a regional passport agency in the United States or any embassy or consulate abroad. Both applications abroad and in the US can also be accepted by mail. Unlike first-time applicants, who must provide proof of citizenship in person for verification, those needing a renewal can present their expired passport book or card as proof; both this and the new document will be returned if applying by mail.
However, the wait for a mail-in passport renewal application may be slightly longer than some travelers would like, especially when dealing with visa applications and other preparations prior to departure. Staff at US embassies and consulates abroad as well as those in regional passport agencies at home can generally estimate when your renewal will be ready for pick up, but applications sent by mail might as well have gone into the ether: send it out, wait several weeks, and hope it’s returned without any errors.
For whatever method you choose, expedited processing is available for a $60 fee. Mail-in applications can include an envelope with a shipping label for overnight return service, but even then, your renewal will more than likely take a few weeks from submission to return.
Getting a passport renewal in an emergency
Passport renewal applications can be expedited in just a few business days if you provide proof of immediate travel, especially if these reasons include a medical emergency or a death in the family. Naturally, mail-in applications aren’t the fastest or the most recommended in this case.
If you do need to leave the country within a few business days, make an appointment at the closest regional passport agency and provide proof of the reason for travel. The time for processing your application is still dependent on traffic and whether it’s peak travel season, but sometimes renewed passport books can be returned within 1-3 business days.
Shorten the time to renew your passport with Travel Visa Pro
If you don’t live within easy access to a regional passport agency or aren’t able to travel there during normal business hours, don’t worry. Travel Visa Pro has opened pick up and drop off locations accessible for most Americans to accommodate these last-minute passport renewal applications.
Even if you’re unsure about which documents you need to gather to apply for a passport renewal, you can call one of our nine staffed locations and a travel expert will get back to you quickly. Passport renewal applicants need to bring Form DS-82, their old US passport, expired for no more than five years, a passport-sized photo taken within the last few months, and payment.
Next to checking your passport’s expiration date and getting a passport photo, filling out Form DS-82 and making an appointment at a regional passport center agency are probably the most time consuming tasks for a passport renewal. Any mistakes on DS-82 may result in your application being denied; you could be asked to return to the passport agency, or resend your application by mail. If your departure plans give you plenty of time, this isn’t a big problem, but many travelers are operating on the fly.
Normally in-person applications are processed and returned within two weeks, and in even less time for an emergency or paid expedited processing. Applications by mail, several weeks.
With Travel Visa Pro renewals take only as long as you want them to take.
How long did it take you to get your US passport renewed?