How to Renew Your US Passport Online

The photo needs to be clear, in color, and feature your face in the middle of the frame against a white background. No hats, glasses, or smiles! Have a blank expression without shadows covering your face and stare directly at the camera. Even if you’re having a bad acne day, no filters or photo alterations are permitted. The photo must be a JPEG file with a minimum size of 600 x 600 pixels. Only photos that fully adhere to the guidelines are accepted.

How Do I Submit the Request?

First, you need to sign up for a MyTravelGov account in order to renew your passport online. When you visit the government website to sign up, click Renew Your Passport and enter your email to create an account. Then, open your email inbox, locate the activation email, and click on the provided link.

This will take you to a page for setting up your two-factor authentication, an online security step that’s always critical. After setting up two-factor authentication, click Agree and Continue to create your account. Then, finish this part of the process by clicking Complete Personal Information and filling out the MyTravelGov profile with your name, address, and other details.

Creating your account is simple, but you’ll need to use strategic timing for the next step: actually starting the application. According to the Department of State’s website, “During the next several months, we are limiting the number of daily applications. The system will open for a limited midday eastern time window each day, and will close once we reach our limit for the day.” Keep trying every day, until you’re able to open an online application. While it’s quite frustrating to have to snag one of the daily spots during this beta test, you can take up to 30 days to complete your renewal after getting started.

Before moving on to the next step, go ahead and locate the physical copy of your old passport. When you’re finally able to begin the application process, browse through the pages on the website to double check your eligibility and to review any disclaimers.

Then, enter the requested information from your passport. If you have a passport card in addition to your passport booklet, fill out the information from both. People who are eligible will be asked to share more information on their travel plans, select a type of passport, confirm their personal information, and upload the appropriate photo. Finally, you’ll need to pay for your new passport to complete the application.

How Much Does It Cost?

The fees for online renewal are similar to what you would pay at a physical location. A passport book costs $130, and a passport card costs $30. Need both? Online renewal for both types costs $160. Though, it’s worth noting that if you only have one form of passport (book or card), and you would like to purchase the other kind, then you aren’t eligible to do the online renewal process.

How Long Will It Take to Arrive?

Now for the biggest wait of them all. After the submission is active in the government’s system, a passport renewal could take around six to eight weeks to process. And then, finally, it might take two weeks for the new passport to arrive in your mailbox.

You’re given the option to pay an extra $60 for a quicker result if you apply through the mail, but that’s not an option for online applications. Although, if your travel plans get switched up, you can call the agency to request faster processing.

Also, you can see the status of mail applications online, but that’s not an option for digital renewals. With that in mind, you can sign up for email updates and expect four messages to land in your inbox informing you when the application is received, in process, approved, and shipped. Make sure to double-check your spam folders so you don’t miss the emails.

Even though it’s not an enjoyable experience, the sooner you stop procrastinating and renew your passport, the sooner you can get back to traveling.

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