Every traveler knows: there’s no personal document quite as important as your passport. Without it, getting to your favorite travel destinations just wouldn’t be possible. It is one of our must-haves for international travel and probably the one thing you can’t do without if you’re a travel junkie.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your passport is up-to-date. If your passport is nearing its expiration date, it’s time to have it renewed. In doing so, you can keep enjoying all its great benefits.
Below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to renew your passport or renew your child’s passport! Keep this information in mind so that you can make your passport renewal process as quick and as painless as possible.
When to Renew
First, make sure that you understand when to renew. If your passport is nearing expiration, or if it has already expired, it’s time to renew. That much is obvious—but there may be other times when you may want to renew even when your passport’s not approaching its expiration date.
The first of these situations is if you plan on getting a visa and have fewer than six months of validity remaining on your passport. You’ll find that many visas will require at least six months’ validity remaining—so if you don’t have it, make sure that you renew your passport before applying.
Secondly, if you’ve gotten married or had a name change for any other reason, be sure to update your passport to reflect your new legal name.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the steps you need to take to renew your passport!
Steps to Renewing Your Passport
If you’re looking to renew your passport, there are certain steps you must follow. Consider the guide below to ensure that you renew your passport without any hang-ups.
1. Make Sure That You’re Eligible to Renew
First and foremost, you’ll need to make sure that you’re actually able to renew your passport. As we’ve seen, there are times when renewing your passport is the right option—and there are times when it’s not.
For example, if your passport has been lost or stolen, a renewal is not for you. Instead, you’ll want to report your situation and get a new passport.
There are other conditions that you must meet to be eligible for a passport renewal. These include:
- You were 16 or older when you first applied for your passport.
- Your passport wasn’t issued more than fifteen years ago.
- Your passport will have the same name (or you can show that your legal name has been changed).
If your situation doesn’t fall under these three criteria, you cannot renew your passport. Instead, you’ll want to apply for a new one.
2. Gather Your Documents
The next step in the passport renewal process is where you gather all your necessary documents. To do this, you’ll need to make sure that you understand everything that you must include with your application. These documents are:
- Form DS-82
- Your Passport Book
- Color 2” x 2” Passport Photo
- Check or Money Order for the Fee
- Evidence of Legal Name Change
3. Mail Your Documents
Once you’ve collected and appropriately filled out your documents, mail them to your local passport processing center. Depending on the delivery time you need, you should have your passport back within a few working weeks. Those needing faster renewals must show proof of upcoming travel and likely need to renew in-person. Keep in mind that the renewal fee will depend on how quickly the service must be performed.
By following these outlined steps, you’ll be on your way to renewing your passport in no time. This simple process can help ensure that you stay legal on all your travels.