Renew Passport By Mail: The ABC

Renew Passport By Mail: The ABC
As seen on:

U.S. citizens may be eligible to renew a passport by mail, so instead of attending a passport facility, they could simply mail their application, and thus avoid paying the execution fee ($35). 

However, they must be aware of when it’s the right time to renew a passport, as mailing and processing times may take longer than expected. 

Learn here the requirements an applicant must meet, how long it takes, how to mail a passport application, the step-by-step process of renewing a passport by mail, and how PhotoAiD®—an app featured in Forbes—can help you gather the required documents.

We will guide you through:

Passport renewal by mail: requirements

In the first place, to understand if you can renew a passport by mail, it’s essential to take a look at the requirements stated by the U.S. Department of State.

The list of requirements to renew U.S. passport by mail in light and dark yellow colors.

U.S. citizens that are allowed to renew a passport by mail are those whose passport meets the next 6 requirements: 

  • save for regular wear and tear, it is undamaged;
  • it is not lost, as the applicant must hand it in when sending the application;
  • it was not exceptionally restricted to a shorter validity time than the typical 10 (ten) years;
  • was issued when the applicant was at least 16 (sixteen) years old;
  • and within the last 15 (fifteen) years;
  • issued in your present name. If not, citizens must provide evidence of a name change.

How to renew passport by mail: 6 simple steps 

This section goes through the mail-in passport renewal process step-by-step.

Step #1: fill out the form 🖺

Whether they’d like to renew a passport card, book, or both, applicants willing to renew a passport by mail must fill out Form DS-82 by:

  • accessing the Form Filler online or;
  • downloading the PDF and filling it out by hand using black ink (estimated time: 30m).

*Note: applicants must provide a Social Security number when completing the form.

After that, they must:

  • complete all pages;
  • sign the passport renewal form with their legal signature;
  • date it;
  • print the form on two separate pages (always single-sided and on white paper).

Step #2: attach a passport photo to the application 📷

To complete the passport renewal application by mail, 1 (one) government regulation-compliant passport photo needs to be stapled to the form. 

In order to get the right image and guarantee its acceptance, it is recommended to use PhotoAiD®, an online passport photo generator with a 4.6⭐ rating on Trustpilot.

Once you receive passport photo prints right at your doorstep, staple the picture to the application with vertical staples in each corner, like in the example below, and without bending the photo at all.

the image shows how to staple the picture to the application according to the U.S. Department of State.
Source: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/have-passport/renew.html

Related reading:

Step #3: gather the rest of the documents 🗁

Before mailing a passport renewal application, applicants must gather the rest of the required documents (besides Form DS-82 and a passport photograph). These are:

  • their old and undamaged passport book and/or card (including a photocopy of the passport personal data page);
  • paycheck or money order;
  • if applicable, the corresponding name change document; for example, a marriage certificate, divorce decree, statutory declaration, or court-ordered name change document.

You may find this interesting:

Step #4: pay the delivery and processing fees 💲

There is only one way to pay renewal fees, and that is to address a check or money order to the “U.S. Department of State,” including the applicant’s full name and date of birth, too.

Standard postal and routine passport processing times, which do not account for the delivery time, may take between 6 (six) to 9 (nine) weeks. Below is the price to be paid:

  • $130 for a passport book
  • $30 for a passport card
  • $160 for both passport book and card.

*Note: passport fees are non-refundable.

Be aware that the only company allowed to send a passport renewal application to official authorities is USPS. Applications sent through FedEx, DHL, or UPS will be returned.

Optional fees (both payable to the U.S. Department of State):

  • Expedite fee: pay an extra $60 to shorten processing times to 3 (three) or 4 (four) weeks. Applicants must add this amount to the same check or money order and write “Expedite” on the outside of the envelope.
  • 1-2 day delivery with USPS’ Priority Mail Express: get the newly-issued passport sent to you in just 1 (one) or 2 (two) days. Applicants can do so by paying an extra $18.32.

Below there is more information on how to fill out a money order/check.

Full name and date of birth of applicant
Source: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/have-passport/renew.html

Step #5: mail-in passport renewal 🚚

The documents should then be placed in an envelope large enough (preferably a Tyvek envelope) to protect the attached items without folding them.

The address where to send the envelope will depend on the applicant’s place of residence.

Passport holders living in:

  • California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, or Texas must send their application to the National Passport Processing Center, Post Office Box 640155 Irving, TX 75064-0155;
  • any other U.S. state or Canadian territory should send a passport renewal application by mail to the National Passport Processing Center, Post Office Box 90155, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155.

In the case of candidates paying for the expedited service, the envelope should always be sent to the following address: 

National Passport Processing Center

PO Box 90955

Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955.

Step #6: wait for the freshly-issued passport 📫

Applicants can track the application status online approximately 2 (two) weeks after the passport application form is submitted. Or, more exactly, once its status changes to “In Process,” right after the payment is processed and the application is delivered to a mail facility. 

Note that there’s nothing wrong with those passport applications that appear as “Not Available;” they’re just still on their way to a U.S. passport facility. If there is any problem, the person will be informed through email or phone.

Once the freshly-issued passport is ready, it will be sent to the applicant’s address via USPS First Class Mail together with the supporting documents. 

However, 

  • the old passport
  • the passport card if the person applied for it, and
  • if applicable, name change documents

will be returned to its owner in separate mailings.

Renew a passport by mail from abroad

Renewing a passport by mail is possible from abroad, too. Even if the U.S. Department of State declares that this service is only available from Canada, we found out that this source of information may be outdated, and different U.S. embassies around the world seem to disagree here. It is the case of Greece, Poland, Spain, Mexico, France, and many others, who also offer the possibility to renew a passport by mail.

Please, check the corresponding U.S. Embassy or Consulate to find out if you can renew a U.S. passport by mail from your country of residence.

U.S. expats can renew a U.S. passport by mail as long as checks and money orders are paid in U.S. dollars drawn from a U.S. bank and they follow the instructions from the corresponding U.S. Embassy, as it may vary.

*NOTE: Express delivery service is not available for expats, so it is advised not to include extra money on a personal check or money order. 

PhotoAiD®—passport photos to attach to your renewal application by mail

Preparing an envelope with required documentation to mail to U.S. authorities can be done 100% from home if using PhotoAiD®. This app enables you to prepare passport photographs with guaranteed acceptance from your phone and get the photo prints delivered to your doorstep in only 2-3 days. 

Thanks to this tool, users can:

  • save time by taking passport photos from home, at the office, etc.;
  • enjoy unlimited shots, so obtaining the perfect photo will be easier;
  • rest assured, the AI system will automatically crop the picture and adjust the background.

Download PhotoAiD®, an app available for both iOS and Android and with over 1 million users.

Review from a satisfied customer after using PhotoAiD to get a passport photo.

Renew a U.S. passport by mail: FAQ

Find the answers to the most common questions regarding the passport renewal process by mail.

Can I renew my passport by mail?

Yes, U.S. citizens residing in the United States and in some other countries are allowed to renew a U.S. passport by mail as long as their passport was issued in the last 15 (fifteen) years, when they were 16 (sixteen) or older, and are still undamaged and under their possession. In case of a name change, applicants must provide evidence by attaching extra documentation.

Do I have to renew my passport by mail?

No, there is no need to renew a passport by mail. This is only an alternative for applicants who don’t wish to attend a passport facility and complete the renewal process in person.

Is it safe to renew a passport by mail?

Yes, when renewing a passport by mail, applicants must send both the passport and documents via USPS Priority Mail, which comes with delivery confirmation.

Where to mail a passport renewal?

Where to mail a passport renewal depends on the state of residence. Applicants who live in California, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, or Texas must send their application to a different address than those living in any U.S. state or Canada. Check where to mail a passport renewal.

How long does it take for a passport renewal by mail?

Applicants may wait approximately 10 (ten) weeks to renew a passport by mail, from the moment they send the application to the moment they receive their new passport at home. However, a passport renewal by mail can take approximately 6 (six) weeks if the applicant pays the expedited fee. 

How should I mail my passport renewal?

The best way to mail a passport renewal is to place the documents in a Tyvek envelope or any other large envelope that ensures the documents are well-protected and won’t fold. 

Can I mail two passport renewals together?

Yes, the U.S. Department of State allows applicants to mail 2 (two) passport renewals together in the same envelope.

Can I mail more than one passport application in the same envelope?

Yes, according to the U.S. Department of State, you can send multiple renewal applications in one envelope in case a member of your family would also like to renew their passport at the same time.

Renew a passport by mail: summary

Here you go. An extensive guide about how to renew a passport by mail in the U.S. and covering every single noteworthy aspect, such as conditions a passport holder must comply with (undamaged, issued in your current name, etc.) or how to do it from abroad.

An essential part of the process consists of obtaining a passport photo and stapling it to the application. You can prepare it online now thanks to PhotoAiD® and get the photo prints within 3 days directly to your door.

Rate my article:

Average rating 4.7 / 5. Vote count: 19

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.