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Everything You Need to Know About Renewing Your U.S. Passport!

Written by Going Places

People usually dislike having to renew their U.S. passport. It might seem a pricey endeavor, and nobody wants to be without their precious documents for long periods of time. Besides, navigating all of the rules and regulations seem daunting enough. However, renewing your passport doesn’t have to be complicated and confusing at all. To make things clear, just follow these tips to learn everything you need to know about renewing your U.S. passport!

How Long Does it Take?

If you travel constantly for work or pleasure, you might be up against the clock with your passport renewal. A U.S. passport will usually take between four to six weeks to arrive by mail. There are ways to expedite the process, though. For an extra fee, you can mail in your renewal and receive it in two to three weeks. If you apply in person at a passport agency nearest you, you can have your passport sooner. This is usually the recommended option if you are traveling internationally in less than two weeks. If you know that your passport is expiring this year, you can pick and choose what time of the year to renew. Pro tip: To speed up the process, it helps to apply around the holidays. By mail, renewals usually take around four weeks, rather than six. If you can wait to renew until less high times such as around summer vacations and spring breaks, you can speed up the process even more!

How Much Does a Renewal Cost?

When you start the process for a passport renewal, figuring out all of the different costs might seem incredibly confusing sometimes. For the most part, if you are an adult over 16 years of age applying for a passport book renewal, you will need to pay $110. The costs can vary depending on your age, if you need a passport book and a passport card, and according to your situation. To figure out what your situation might warrant money-wise, the U.S. government passport website does offer a cost calculator to help you figure out just how much you will have to pay.

Will My Old Passport Be Returned to Me?

Most of us don’t want to give up our old passports and their celebrated stamps. That’s why many people are afraid of losing them forever when it’s time to mail them in for a new one. However, old passports usually show up in the mailbox about a week after the new passport arrives. Therefore, you shouldn’t panic when you receive your new passport without the old one: The old passport is mailed separately.

Can I Take My Own Passport Photo?

Two tiny passport photos can be costly. If you’re already hurting due to the shock over how much a passport costs to renew, you can save a bit of cash by taking your passport photos yourself. Just remember that the 51x51mm photograph must meet a whole laundry list of criteria outlined on the U.S. passport photo webpage.

Is There a Way to Save Money with My Passport Renewal?

If you need to add more pages to your passport in the future — for a marriage name change, for example — you will have to pay over $82, almost the same price as a whole new passport. So, to save this cash, be sure to tick the box on your application requesting a 52-page book. This will allow you to travel longer without having to add more pages for more money. You can also save on passport costs by staying on top of your expiration date. If you are under a time crunch with getting a new passport, you will pay $60 for expedited service.

What are the Main Differences Between Getting a Passport for the First Time vs Renewing One?

If you are a U.S. citizen hoping to travel and explore overseas and beyond, below you’ll find some essential differences between first-time passport applications and renewal.

First-time application

• All first-time applicants, including 17 years or younger, need to fill out a DS-11 form to initiate the process. U.S. citizens 18 years and over will need to present their birth certificate and a photo I.D., preferably from their driver’s license. Children aged 16 and below need to provide proof of parental relationship. All first-time applicants should present two recent 2″ by 2″ color passport photos together with other application documents.

• After paying up, you need to submit your application in person to the passport acceptance facility. Your new passport will reach you via mail after 4 to 6 weeks.

Passport renewal process

• When renewing your travel documents, you need to fill out the DS-82 form. The supporting documents you need include your old passport, a 2″ by 2″ color passport photo, and any relevant document such as a marriage certificate or court order if your names have changed since your initial application.

• You need to pay the renewal fees using the recommended payment methods. Submit your application and accompanying documents to the appropriate state address via mail.

You may also like: Damaged Passport? Here’s What You Need to Do!

What Should You Know About Getting Your Baby a Passport?

It’s hard to watch when parents get frustrated at the airport due to incomplete passport documents for their toddlers. Just check this detailed guide on how to get a baby passport when planning for you next family trip!

• All kids under 16 years old, babies included, must apply in person. All parents will have to find the closest acceptance facility and check-in with their children. The best way to show parent consent is to have both parents present during the application. If that’s not possible, you can arrange to fill out a consent form and have it notarized.

• You will need to fill out and sign the DS-11 application form and proof of your child’s U.S citizenship, such as an original birth certificate. Copies of the parent’s I.D. are also necessary. Also, you need to submit your baby’s passport photo. It should be a clear photo on a uniform background, such as a white sheet or blanket.

• Baby passport application entails application and execution fees, payable in person when applying.

• Passports for babies and kids below 16 years are only valid for a maximum of 5 years. Be sure you’re renewing your child’s passport at least six months before the expiry date.

How do You Replace Your Passport if You Lose it While Traveling?

Losing your passport in a foreign country can be a nightmare for most travelers. If you lose your passport overseas, contact your nearest embassy as soon as you realize it’s missing. The embassy office will immediately cancel it and begin the replacement process..

Besides, the embassy will guide you through obtaining passport photos and any other essentials necessary to support the passport replacement process. File a police report if you’re sure your documents have been stolen or if you are a victim of a criminal offense.

What Should You Do to Protect Your Passport?

Consider having a passport wallet to secure your passport and other travel documents, and always return your passport to its designated pouch or wallet after showing it to the relevant authorities. When you check into a hotel, store your passport and other valuables in the hotel safe rather than the casual drawers. Lastly, consider getting travel insurance the minute you book those cheap last-minute flights to cover any emergencies that may arise during your trip!

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Going Places

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