How To Renew An Expired Passport

If you plan on taking a trip outside the United States then you will need a U.S. Passport. It doesn’t matter if you are going on business or just going for a fun vacation with the family. Before you can leave the country you need a passport, even if going to Canada. No passport means no travel abroad. If you have to renew an expired passport and you are confused on what exactly is needed, our guide explains it all.

When it comes to renewing your passport you basically have two options. You can either renew it by mail or you can renew it in person. If you still have your previous passport and it is in good condition this process will be quick and easy if you meet the following criteria:

Your Most Recent U.S. Passport:

  1. Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application
  2. Was issued when you were age 16 or older
  3. Was issued within the last 15 years
  4. Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change

If on the other hand you don’t have your passport in your possession or you don’t meet the criteria, you will need to reapply in person.

Here Are The Steps You Need To Take To Renew An Expired Passport Via Mail

Before you can renew your passport via the mail you must make sure it is undamaged. It also must have been issued within the last 15 years and when you were 16 years or older. If you meet the above criteria you can renew your passport in the mail. Otherwise you will need to renew in person by going to a post office.

Let’s first discuss how you can renew via mail and then discuss how you can renew an expired passport in person.

Step 1 – Complete Form DS-82

The first step to renewing your passport in the mail is to fill out form DS-82. You can either fill out the form online or print out a blank copy and fill it out that way. You can obtain a blank copy from the website You can also get it from your local passport agency. If you fill out the form online you will still need to print it out, sign and date it. Be sure to only use black ink on the form.

Step 2 – Place Form In A Padded Envelope

After you have completed the form you will need to place your expired passport and two passport photos in a padded envelope. Staple one of your passport photos to form DS-82. There is a dedicated space for you to staple the photo. Leave the second photo loose. If you have had a name change since your last passport was issued you will need to provide proof of this change. A marriage certificate or court order is all you need.

Step 3 – Write A Check To Cover The Renewal Fees

Before you seal the envelope you will need to put a check in there that will cover the renewal fees. Make the check payable to the “Department Of State”. Make sure you include your name and date of birth on the front of the check. As of June 2012 the fee for a passport book renewal was $110, $30 for a passport card renewal and $140 for both. You can check for current fees at

Step 4 – Mail It In

Double check to make sure you have everything and then mail it all in.

Send it to:  National Passport Processing Center, Post Office Box 90155, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155 .

How To Renew Your Expired Passport In Person

According to the United States Post Office website you cannot renew your passport at the post office. You will need to go to a passport agency to renew in person. Here is how to renew your passport in person.

Step 1 – Fill Out Form DS-11

You can either get this from online at or you can pick one up at your local passport agency. Make sure you DO NOT sign and date the form.

Step 2 – Gather All Needed Documentation

Before you can renew your passport you will need to provide certain documentation. This includes proof of U.S. Citizenship, identification and two passport photos. You can use your previous passport for both of these. If you have lost or misplaced your previous passport you will need to provide a birth certificate or certificate of citizenship along with a drivers license or government issued ID to prove you are a U.S. citizen.

If your identification is from a different state you will need to have a second form of ID on hand as well.

Step 3 – Make Photocopies

Next you will need to make a photocopy of your documents. Make sure it is on plain white paper that is 8 1/2 x 11 inches. You must photocopy the front and back of your identification. Take both the photocopies and the original identification with you when you apply to renew your passport.

Step 4 – Go Renew At Your Local Passport Agency

Once you have all the needed documentation you can take it to the nearest passport agency. If you don’t know where the closest one is you can go Travel.state.go or call 1-877-487-2778 to find out. When instructed to do so sign and date form DS-11 in front of the acceptance agent.

A Few Tips & Warning To Help You Along The Way

Make sure your photo is 2 by 2 inches, has a white or off white background and shows you in regular street wear.

If you need your passport expedited include an additional $60 with your renewal fees. On the outside of the envelope write the word “EXPEDITE” and then mail it off.

To ensure your passport application has been received use a traceable delivery method. Request delivery confirmation or signature confirmation.

If you will be traveling internationally in less than two weeks or need a foreign visa for travel in less than four weeks you will need to apply in person at your a passport agency. Call and make an appointment as soon as possible. There are various services that can renew your passport in a day, two days, and so on with fees increasing with shorter wait time.

Overall renewing a passport is a very straight forward process. As long as you have all needed information you should be able to get it done quickly. Just follow the steps I have outlined above and you should have no problems renewing your passport.