Saturday, March 26, 2016

10 Easy Tips to Renew Your Passport

Planning a vacation takes time!  And if you want to travel outside the country, then you need think about your Passport and allow 2 months in your schedule.   Since a passport lasts 10 years, it may have been a while since you've thought about it; but never fear! Here are my Tips for Easy Passport Renewal!

If you have never had a Passport, then you need to read How To Start From Scratch.

1. Know When Your Passport Expires

This information can be found at the bottom of your profile page.  

You can see by the Date of Expiration, that it was time for me to get my passport renewed!

2.  Plan Your Budget
Submitting the wrong fees can delay your application:  most likely, they will send it back for you to resubmit.

Here are your expected Fees:

Passport Book
Passport Card
Passport Book and Card
Expedited Service
Overnight Delivery
Passport Photo
$12 - $15
Priority Mail

3. Mail In Your Application If At All Possible

You can renew by mail if your Current Passport
- is undamaged and not lost
-was issued when you were at least 16
-was issued in the last 15 years
-was issued with your current name
-you can wait 4 to 6 weeks for your new passport

Tip:  If you need to apply in person, then locate the Passport Office nearest you to make an appointment.  

The application is very simple, and I would highly suggest completing it online so that when you print it, the document is legible.  If you hand write your application, and the officer can not read it for any reason, your application will be returned.

I also suggest printing the application and reading through it before filling it out online:

Form 212241.pdf

** Don't Forget to Sign and Date!

** something new since your old passport... you can request additional pages.  Normal passports hold 28 pages, but now you can request 52!

5.  Request a Passport Card
When filling out your application, you are asked if you want a Passport Card.   The passport card is great to have as your backup once you enter a foreign county:  it is not a replacement for your passport, though if traveling outside of Canada or Mexico.

I am getting one because you can leave your Passport locked in your room safe, and carry your card in your pocket while out touring. 

6.  Use a Reliable Passport Photo Service
Don't try to do this yourself:  the picture requirements are specific, and a Passport Photo service will do it correctly.   The Post Office, Walgreens or CVS can make a Passport Photo.

I chose to go to the Post Office: the cost was $15 and it just took a few minutes with no appointment needed. ( I would call your local post office for their policies before heading out. )

Once you have the photo, staple it onto our application within the photo box.

7.  Keep a Copy for Yourself
Make a copy of the completed application along with a copy your Old Passport for your records.  

8.  Don't forget your current Passport and Check.
You must enclose your current Passport with your renew application.  If you don't, your package will be sent back to you.  Don't Worry! your old passport will be returned to you along with your new Passport.

Make your Check out to "U. S. Department of State"

9. Choose Routine Service
Express Service is expensive.  If you are in a hurry, I would go to the Passport Office directly.

  Routine Service:
    Mail the completed application to:
                National Passport Processing Center
                Post Office Box 90155
                Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155

Choose Priority Mail! Due to the nature of this order, you want safe, trackable mail service.

10.  Be Patient!
Normal Processing takes 4 to 6 weeks.  If after 6 weeks you have not heard anything, contact your local Passport Office; have your copies and mail receipt handy to discuss your passport concerns.

And expect each document to be mailed separately:  your new passport, your old passport and your new passport card may arrive at different times, but within the 4 to 6 week period.

That's it!

Fill out your application and get ready for an amazing adventure - wherever the road may take you!

for more passport information and travel planning, contact me at


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