When your passport renewal is due, there are a few ways you can take care of it. There are some cases in which you can renew it by mail. There are others in which you will have to make the application in person.
First of all, get your current passport out of storage. It must be sent along with your application for renewal by mail. Therefore, if your passport not available, you must make your application for a new one in person.
If your current passport is available as well as undamaged, you still my not be able to renew by mail. It must have been issued when you were 16 years old or more, and within the last 15 years. It also must have been issued in your current name or you must be able to send documentation with the application showing your legal name change.
When sending in your application, you will have to include your current passport, the applicable fee, two passport-size photos and the documentation showing your name change, if any, such as a court order or marriage certificate. It is best to send the application in a manner that can be traced. You should also package it securely so that no damages will occur during transport.
Once renewed, your passport can be sent to an address in the United States or Canada only. Therefore, if you are in any other country, you must go to the nearest American Embassy or Consulate to get a new passport. A side note, if you happen to owe child support that you are behind on, you may not be able to get your passport.
Processing time for applications vary but are generally between four and six weeks. If your need for a passport is urgent, you might have to go to a passport agency. If you have international travel planned in the next two weeks or need a passport to secure a foreign visa in the next four weeks, this is recommended. You will only be seen by appointment at these agencies.
If you have sent in your passport application already, you may be able to see its status online. For this service to be available, you may need to wait for a week after making your application. If it has not arrived to you within a week of when you need to travel, contact the National Passport Information Center.
There are times when an emergency necessitates traveling to a foreign country in 24 to 48 hours. If this should happen, you can get emergency service by making an appointment at a passport agency. You may be required to show proof of the emergency.
People often wait until they make their international travel plans before ensuring that their passports are still good. It is smarter to keep track of the expiration date of your passport. Then, when it is approaching, be sure to get the passport renewal taken care of promptly. This will help you to avoid problems with any last minute travel plans.