Renew Your Passport at Least 6 Months Before the Expiration Date
While the title gives some of our article away, you may still be asking yourself, “What?”
Yes, there is an expiration date on your passport, and yes, it is there for a real reason. The problem isn’t with your passport here in the US – it could come when you are already abroad.
Many regulations have changed over the last decade to increase travel security. One of these changes is that many countries will not consider a passport valid if it is going to expire in 3-6 months’ time. You may be able to gain entry, but you may not be able to exit. Either way, getting stuck in a foreign country waiting for a renewed passport to come via international couriers could become a serious problem if you aren’t aware of current regulations.
How to Renew Your Passport
The first thing you’ll want to ascertain is the information on the country/countries you are visiting to see what their current passport requirements are. You can do this by visiting the Country Specific Information page online at http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
If you find that you do indeed need to renew your passport, the following will help you to do so:
Renewing Your Passport by Mail
You can renew your passport via mail if your most recent passport meets the following criteria:
•Is undamaged and can be submitted with your application •Was issued when you were age 16 or older •Was issued within the last 15 years •Was issued in your current name or you can legally document your name change
If any of the above statements do not apply to you, you must apply as a first-time passport user in person. Please read our First Time Passport Applicant (hyperlink to article) article for more information.
If you do meet the criteria, you will need to fill out and sign form DS-82. You have the option of filling the form out online and printing and signing, or printing and completing by hand. You can access the form here:
https://pptform.state.gov/?Submit2=Complete+Online+%26+Print – fill out online
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/79960.pdf - complete by hand
All forms must be signed, dated and include your social security number in order to be processed.
Once you’ve completed form DS-82, you’ll need to attach:
•a new passport photo to the application (see photo requirements here: http://travel.state.gov/passport/pptphotoreq/pptphotoreq_5333.html ) •Your most recent US Passport Book or Card •Payment (see current costs and acceptable payment methods here: http://travel.state.gov/passport/fees/fees_837.html ) •A marriage certificate or court order (for name changes