There’s a New Passport Renewal Program
The service will go live in December, and once it does, you’ll be able to renew your passport online if you meet three requirements. This is for US Passports only.
To be able to do your passport renewal online, you need three things: you have a valid passport that’s undamaged and has at least six months left on its expiration date, your name on the new passport needs to be exactly the same as it is on your current, valid passport; and your photo in your application matches the one in your existing passport.
There was a pilot program in August that closed when it hit 25k applications on August 12.
A new batch is open at MyTravelGov for September. Go here to sign up.
The full program is set to go live in either December 2023 or January of 2023.
Processing Times for Passport Renewals Have Always Sucked
We all know what a pain in the ass renewing your passport has been historically. It involved having to get a passport photo that wasn’t easy to get, filling out a form and mail your application in through the post office. Wait times were about 2-3 months.
The other butthole was you had to send them your current passport. While you’re waiting for your new passport book, you can’t do any kind of travel. Then you sit there and wait anywhere from 6-8 weeks to get it back.
Expedited costs an extra $60 through the post office but does it really speed things up? They say 5-7 weeks. Wow!
You have no way to check the status of your passport book. You cannot tell when they receive your application.
Now add Covid in there. It only got worse for the last 2 years.
You could renew your passport outside the US a lot easier as we covered in an earlier article.
You could get expedited service with a passport agency and pay around $500 and get your passport in a week or two.
The process just wasn’t well organized. It looks like this might be about to change.
Pilot Program in August
Originating from an executive order by President Joe Biden in December 2021, a pilot program for online passport renewals was launched by the Department of State on Aug. 2, with 25,000 open slots that were filled by Aug. 12.
They filled all the slots in August. Now that we’re in September, they have opened up the program again for applications. A new batch is open at MyTravelGov. Go here to sign up.
Valid US passport
You’ll need to have a passport that was issued no more than 15 years ago and when you were 16 or older. If your passport was issued when you were under 16, then this process won’t work for you: You must apply for a new one in person.
Additionally, if your current US passport has expired and/or been damaged beyond recognition (it cannot be read), it’s not eligible for renewal online. In this case, you’ll be using the old mail it in method to renew your US passport.
You will also have to have a passport in your possession before you can renew it. If your passport has been lost, damaged or stolen, you cannot renew it online. If this is the case, then you will need to apply for a new passport instead.
Restrictions to Online Renewal: Name Change
If you’ve changed your name, there’s good news: the US passport renewal process has become much easier. However, there are still a few restrictions.
For example: if the name on your current passport is not identical to that on your birth certificate (or other document proving citizenship), then you can’t renew online. Instead, you have to get a passport photo, fill out a form and mail your application in through the post office the traditional way.
Upload a Photo That Matches Your Current One
You need to be able to follow the photo guidelines and upload a proper photo that will get approved.
The new online service is a great way to get your passport renewed without having to make an appointment at an application center. The process is simple and quick, and within two weeks you’ll have a new U.S. Passport in your hands