What is a US passport renewal by mail? This service is open to citizens who want to renew their passports but cannot visit a US consulate or agency either because of their busy schedule, ill health, or because there is none near where they live. The Department of State has opened up a functional renewal by mail system where the applicant can simply package their old passport, essential documents, and cheque or money order for the processing fee into an envelope and mail it to the State Department.
US Passport Renewal By Mail
Renewal by mail works differently from the in-person method because the applicant doesn’t have to be present physically to apply for the passport renewal. They can apply by mail if they are eligible for the passport and meet all the requirements.
US Passport Renewal Eligibility For US Citizens
Before you send your documents and application form to the Department of State for processing, you must be sure that you are eligible for renewal. Here are the eligibility criteria to bear in mind.
Issued Within The Last 15 Years: The passport you want to renew must have been issued within 15 years. If your passport was issued more than 15 years ago, it is not eligible for renewal; instead, you should apply for a new passport.
5 Years Expiry: Passports that have expired more than 5 years ago cannot be renewed by the State Department. If you send a passport that has expired more than 5 years ago, your application will be rejected.
Age Bracket: Passports issued to individuals under the age of 16 years cannot be renewed as such individuals were categorized as minors when the passport was issued. Based on the rules, passports for minors cannot be renewed, so the applicant should apply for a new passport instead.
No Mutilated Passports: Only passports in good condition can be renewed, not mutilated ones. Mutilated pages and faded images are not accepted for renewal.
These are the eligibility criteria the applicant must meet before they decide to renew their passport.
How To Renew Your US Passport By Mail
If you want to renew your US passport by mail, here are the steps to take.
Obtain & Fill Out The DS-82 Form: The first step is to get the DS -82 form and fill it out. You must provide your Social Security Number if you have one, but it is not; you must tick the box declaring that you don’t have a Social Security Number. All fields in the form must be filled out and signed by you.
Submit The Old Passport: The next step is to submit your old passport booklet or card. Ensure that the passport meets all the eligibility criteria in the previous section. When the new passport card is ready, it will be sent to you along with the old one in a separate mail.
Name Change: If you changed your name, you should declare the new name with relevant documents such as a certified divorce decree, marriage certificate, or a court order backing your name change.
Include A Photograph: Attach a passport photo to the renewal application and ensure it meets the photograph criteria.
The photograph should be attached to the application form with staples hooked vertically at the outer corner edge away from the face. The photograph must not be bent. Don’t wear glasses unless a doctor recommends that you do, and provide a signed report to back it up.
Application Fees: The application fee varies depending on your location and current changes. Passbook books accepted for air travel cost about $130, while a Passbook card for cross-border trips costs $30. The fee for a passport book and card could rise to $160 or more. The passport application fee is not paid in cash but a money order or signed check from a US bank. Print your name and date of birth on the front of the money order or cheque.
Mail The Application: With all your documents in order, mail them to the United States Department of State. Applicants living in the US must use the US Postal Service for their mailing, and those living in Canada must use Canada Post. Those outside the US and Canada may use private courier companies like DHL, FedEx, UPS, etc.
For faster shipping, you should consider purchasing a Priority Mail Express service so the application will get to the liaison department of State office on time. Kindly note that expedited service processing may cost up to a $60 service charge.
Note: Applicants from Canada and The US should avoid using private courier services, or their documents will be returned to them.
US passport renewal by mail is the best option if you live far away from a US passport agency or consulate and need a new passport to travel abroad.