USPS Passport Renewal
November 17, 2022
More than 15.4 million U.S. passports were issued in 2021, while approximately 14.2 million applications were filed in the same year.
With that number of passport applications in 2021 alone, you should plan ahead if you consider applying for passport renewal.
If you want to use USPS (U.S. Postal Service) for packaging deliveries but are unsure about the passport renewal process, this article is right for you.
We cover the services you should use to renew your passport, the necessary documents, the cost, and what makes USPS services different from those of FedEx.
Head to FindPostOffice.org and search our database for post office locations, contact numbers, and addresses.
What USPS Service Should You Use for Passport Renewal?
If you are considering renewing your passport, you can use the following USPS services. The U.S. Department of State also recommends them.
- USPS Priority Mail service with delivery confirmation
- USPS Priority Mail service with signature confirmation
- USPS Priority Mail Express service (for overnight delivery requests)
Post Office Passport Renewal Overview
U.S. passports have a 10-year validity. However, they are only valid for five years for children under age 16.
When your passport’s validity expires, you can now have it renewed through the U.S. Postal service passport services, especially if you are far from a passport acceptance office.
Processing Time at Post Offices: How Long Does It Take to Renew Passport?
A standard passport renewal process can take to 6 to 8 weeks. However, you can request an expedited passport renewal service, which may take up to 2 to 3 weeks. You must pay an additional fee to the Department of State for this service.
You can also speed up the process by opting for two-way overnight delivery. However, your location and the length of the queue for passport renewals can still affect the speed of delivery.
Changes Due to COVID-19
The USPS made strides in upgrading and adjusting its services during the height of the COVD-19 pandemic. In March 2020, the postal service processed passport applications by appointment.
It means that you have to make an appointment before you can get your renewal processed. However, this additional step is a temporary measure to address problems caused by the pandemic.
What Documents Do You Need to Renew Your Passport?
When you want to renew your expired passport, you need to provide the necessary documents for the application process for your new passport to go smoothly.
- Accomplished application form. You can download the form from the Passport Agency or State Department website. There are various kinds of forms for passport application or renewal.
- Form DS-82 is used when renewing a passport.
- Form DS-11 is used for minor applicants, first-time passport applicants, and lost, damaged, and stolen passports. For new passport applications, an in-person appointment is required.
- Passport photo. You must provide your photos according to the prescribed requirements stated by the U.S. Department of State. Photos can be taken in post offices that provide passport photo services.
- Renewal fees. These are paid through accredited methods by the State Department. Note that the passport fees are set by the Department of State and not by the postal service.
- Adult passport renewal: $130
- Minor passport renewal: $100 plus $35 paid to the passport acceptance facility
You can pay these fees via check or money order payable to the U.S. Department of State.
- Certification of a name change. Provide a marriage certificate if married or a court order allowing for a name change.
Renew a Passport by Mail
Renewing a passport by mail is one of the conveniences provided by USPS and allowed by the Department of State. The service was further relied on during the pandemic when limited travel was imposed, and offices were closed.
Check Your Eligibility to Renew by Mail
You must meet specific eligibility requirements for you to renew your passport through the mail. Your passport should meet these criteria:
- In your possession and ready to be submitted with your application.
- Without damage aside from normal wear and tear.
- Issued when you were 16 or older.
- Issued within the last 15 years.
- Issued in your current name. In case of a name change, you have documents as proof.
If you do not have all the requirements specified above, you must renew your passport in person.
Prepare Your Application Package
After checking if you are eligible to apply for passport renewal through the mail, you can start completing the necessary documents, such as the DS-82 or the passport renewal application form. You need to print and sign it physically.
Next is to take your photo at certain post offices and pay the fee. Any document you fail to submit will cause delays in your renewal process. Also, applying early for a passport renewal is best because some countries do not allow entry passports with over six months of validity.
Finalize and Mail Your Renewal Application
After working through completing all the necessary documents necessary for a renewal, you can now send them all over to processing. Put all the needed documents in an envelope and have them delivered using a USPS delivery tracking service recommended by the Department of State.
Pay the passport application fee and execution fee. You can pay for either Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail service and have large envelopes to hold your documents. You can also order them online. Just check the USPS Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope.
Follow Your Application Progress
If you choose USPS tracking, you can check the delivery status of your renewal application to see if it has reached the intended destination. You can check the status of your application on the Department of State platform in 5 to 6 weeks.
Expedited Delivery for Passport Renewal
Renewal through the mail is a convenient process, but you can have your delivery expedited through Priority Mail Express. However, you need to pay an additional $60 to get this fast delivery service.
Tips for Renewing Your Passport at the Post Office
Here are some tips when renewing your passport at the post office. These simple, practical tips will help you have a quicker passport renewal.
Post Office Passport Acceptance Offices
In 2007, an estimated 18.3 million passports were issued, and the Postal service accepted more than half of those passport applications. After ten years of validity, all those passports were renewed in 2017.
Also, in 2009, the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative increased the need for passport books or passport cards when traveling to the U.S. from Bermuda, Canada, Mexico, and other countries of the Caribbean.
After Jan 1, 2021, the U.S. Postal Service has accepted an estimated 3.5 million passport applications, which is higher than the same period before the pandemic.
Schedule an Appointment at the Post Office
Scheduling a post office appointment is essential for passport renewal, especially for walk-in applicants. Some people are unaware of this policy, which may result in inconvenience. Post office passport services have operating hours when they can offer passport processing services.
Millions of passport applications are being processed yearly, so scheduling is necessary to make the process smooth and more efficient.
Choose Your Appointment Time Wisely
Never be the last-minute type of person. Always choose the earlier time for a passport renewal appointment. Remember that passport renewal applications should be submitted nine months before the expiration date.
However, you must consider the travel policies in countries you wish to visit, as they may have regulations such as not allowing entry of people with passports of less than six months validity.
Double-Check Your Documents
Always double-check your documents before sending them through the USPS passport renewal service. Ensure all data in your passport information is accurate.
Avoid the hassle of applying for passport information correction by simply double-checking your documents first. It is a simple step that can save you a lot of headaches.
Have Your Photo Taken at the Passport Office
When you apply for a passport or have it renewed, you must take photos. You may get these photo services at the passport office or post office. You can also ask your local post office if they provide this service.
Passport Renewal Package Tracking
After delivery of your passport renewal package, you can use the tracker provided by the Department of State. You can access the Online Passport Status System to check how the renewal process is progressing.
There are four statuses your application or renewal package will go through before you can get your passport book or card.
- Not Available – This status means that the Department of State has not received your renewal application. It may be that your documents are still in transit or in the passport acceptance agent or office.
- In Process – This status means that your application is now being reviewed in a processing center.
- Approved – This status means that the review is completed, and they are now printing your new passport.
- Mailed – This status means that your new passport has been mailed back to you and is on the way. Note that it may take up to four weeks before your parcel gets to your address.
Renew Your Passport: Shipping Insurance
Shipping insurance is a safeguard that will give you peace of mind as your parcel is in transit. USPS and FedEx have shipping insurance, which you can pay to safeguard your package.
According to the USPS insurance policy table, the fees are as follows:
- Free $50 insurance after purchasing postage at the USPS website or the post office
- For shipping value up to $50 – $1.65 (shipping insurance fee)
- Value from $50.01 to $100 – $2.05
- Value from $100.01 to $200 – $2.45
- Value from $200.01 to $300 – $4.60
For every $100, you need to pay an additional $0.90 to cover the shipping insurance for your passport renewal application.
State Department Travel Resources
Here are the resources the Department of State provided for more information about passports and travel.
U.S. State Department Website
- Department of State Passport Website
- National Passport Information Center
- Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
- Traveler’s Checklist provided by the travel.state.gov website
- The travel.state.gov website’s “Get Help” page, in case of overseas emergencies
Lost or Stolen Passports
In cases where your passport is lost or stolen, you should report it immediately to the U.S. Department of State through these methods:
- Visit the travel.state.gov website and report it online.
- Mail your report by sending an accomplished DS-64 to the address stated in the form.
- Call the State Department’s toll-free number at 1-877-487-2778 (TTY 1-888-874-7793).
Who Should You Pick to Send Your Passport Renewal Application: USPS or FedEx?
USPS and FedEx are among the biggest package delivery companies in the United States. However, in providing passport application and renewal services, one is better than the other.
Here are some pieces of information to help you decide which service to choose:
Passport Renewal: USPS vs. FedEx
USPS and FedEx can help you mail your passport to the passport acceptance facility and complete the renewal application. However, both have pros and cons.
Here is a quick comparison of the two services.
Who Is Quicker: USPS vs. FedEx?
FedEx arguably has faster passport application delivery compared to USPS. They have overnight deliveries, a massive advantage, especially for expedited passport renewals. However, USPS is an excellent option if you are not in a hurry and can wait.
Passport Renewal Shipping Convenience
USPS is better than FedEx in shipping convenience. USPS allows you to print your home postage signs and shipping labels. Also, USPS has access to almost all the country’s post office boxes and mailboxes.
Unlike FedEx, you must go to pickup and drop-off locations. Also, FedEx personnel are prohibited by law from touching mailboxes, which is why FedEx packages are left on your porch or in front of your door and not inside your mailbox.
Which Is Cheaper: Passport Renewal With USPS or FedEx?
USPS has cheaper passport renewal service fees compared to FedEx. Rates are roughly 10% less though the arrival time is much later than FedEx delivery’s speed.
Passport Renewal Fees
USPS passport renewal fees:
- Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope – $8.95 estimated package arrival is three business days;
- Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelope – $23.50 estimate package arrival is within two business days by 6:00 PM.
FedEx passport renewal fees;
- FedEx Envelope Express Saver – $9.80 delivery within three days
- FedEx Envelope 2-Day A.M. – $26.55 delivery within two days before 10:00 AM
- FedEx Envelope Standard Overnight – $28.55 next day delivery by 3:00 PM
- FedEx Envelope Priority Overnight – $35.05 next day delivery by 10:00 AM
- FedEx Envelope First Overnight – $81.05 next day delivery by 8:30 AM
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
- I am traveling in two weeks and need my passport renewed. What are my options?
For urgent travel needs, you can call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778 to get instructions on how to have your passport renewed fast.
- Can I renew my passport at the passport acceptance facility?
No, you can only renew your passport by mailing in your application.
- Can I renew my passport at a local post office?
You can apply for a passport renewal at your local post office. However, the post office is not the agency that will renew your passport.
- Where do I find general passport information?
You can head to the U.S. Department of State website or, in cases abroad, your nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
1. U.S. Passports Statistics
2. U.S. DEPARTMENT of STATE — BUREAU of CONSULAR AFFAIRS
3. United States Passport Fees