Most people are familiar with their passports. It is a document they have had for years, and they keep an eye on it as to when it expires. Others, however, do not. Some people do not even have passports, which can be very irritating for them if they suddenly wish to travel out of the country. If you do have a passport, look at the expiration date. Most passports last for ten years. You should therefore get ready to renew this document once it gets to be about six months away from its expiration date. After that, there are just a few simple steps to renew a passport.
Some don’t think they need a to renew a passport so far in advance. It is good planning and common sense to do so though, because it is an official document which requires much processing and changing of hands before it is given to you. There could be numerous delays and problems, so if you are planning on traveling, save yourself a big headache and never run the risk of being caught without a valid passport. You can also on occasion find deals when the passport might not cost you as much.
So what should you do first? Typically, most people renew their passports through the mail. It is simple to do and you don’t have to travel anywhere. However, this option is not available for every person in every situation. It is only available if the below statements reflect your passport status.
Your passport is undamaged and can be submitted via mail with the form. Your passport was issued to you when you were older than sixteen. Your passport was issued to you within the last fifteen years. The name on your passport is still your legal name, or you can show via mail the proper documentation to prove your name change. If all this is true, then you can download Form DS-82 from the travel.state.gov website.
So what do you do if those statements are not true? Or what if your passport was stolen or you are getting a passport for the first time? Apply in person. Do this by filling out the DS-11 form from the same site. After the form is properly filled, look at the requirements for documents you need to bring with you. Different people will require different things.
Passport Agencies (or more temporary Acceptance Facilities) are where you get this done. Go there with your form and bits of documentation. Some examples of documentation include proof of citizenship, birth certificate, marriage license, and your old passport. Understand what you need.
On the web page where you downloaded the forms, there should be a search engine to help you locate Acceptance Facilities or Passport Agencies. Many public officials, notaries, clerks, or post office workers can be eligible to provide you with this service. Town libraries are often the location for many Acceptance Facilities.
The most important advice is to pay attention to the special renew your U.S. passport page. Things like age (if you are under eighteen) can have very different rules than normal passport appliers. There are also special requirements to US passport requirements if you have diplomatic or official status.