If I notice that my travel documents are on the verge of expiring, when should I renew my passport? We know that adult passports of US citizens expire after ten years. So is it logical that you contemplate applying for renewal at some point? But when should you apply for a renewal? Must you wait until it expires, or do you apply for a renewal before it does? These questions and more will be answered on this page, so keep reading to learn more.
Know The Passport Processing Time
You should first know that the standard processing time for passports is 6-8 weeks. This was the normal processing time for passport issuance before the pandemic of 2020. Due to organizational disruptions caused by the pandemic, processing times were extended for a few more weeks, but things are returning to normal.
Besides the processing time, another thing to consider is your itinerary. How often do you travel, and how long will it take you to apply for a visa? Some embassies process visa applications in a week or less; others take as much as a month or even more. These are some factors to consider when applying for a passport renewal.
The Expiration Date
By far, the most critical factor to consider when deciding on the time to renew your passport is the expiration date of the current one. Many European countries will not allow visitors into their country if their passport has less than six months of validity, with the six months mark being the minimum requirement. Other countries can let in visitors with three months' validity left. Fortunately, few others have no minimum validity requirements.
When Should I Renew My Passport
When you consider these factors, the best course of action is to apply for a renewal if your passport has less than a year of validity. Assuming it is valid for nine more months and you apply now, the process may take two months before the new passport is issued; that will mean that you will get it at a time when the current passport has just seven months to go. So the less than one-year validity rule is a sound one.
Another thing to consider is your travel plans. If you intend to apply for a visa, check the visa processing timeline to see if it will clash with your plans to submit a passport application. Also, remember that you cannot apply for a visa without a passport, so you may want to shelf plans to apply for a new one if your passport has more than six months left.
As a general rule, it is best to submit a passport renewal application when the current one has less than one year left or if you will not be traveling or applying for a passport for a few months.
Can I Get A Passport In A Short Time?
Getting a passport in a short time is possible if you apply for expedited service. Expedited applications are given utmost priority by the agency and are produced first before the others, albeit with some conditions.
The applicant must explain why they need the passport released in time with evidence. Those who apply for a passport in a life-or-death situation must get the passport within 24 hours or in three days, while those who apply under the urgent travel clause can get their passport within two weeks.
The extra fee for expedited service is $60, payable to the agency through a signed US bank cheque or a money order.
What Do I Need To Renew My US Passport?
You will need the following items.
Form: A duly completed and signed DS-82 application form filled online and printed out or filled by hand with black ink.
Current Passport: You must submit your current passport.
Passport Photo: A recent passport photo of you must meet the photo guidelines of the Department of State. The photo must be clear, not folded at the edges or smeared. Don't wear glasses.
Application Fee: The application fee is paid via a cheque or money order
Supporting Documents: If your name has changed, you may include a marriage or divorce certificate or court order to prove that you are the same person.
The application process for a renewal is straightforward, and you need only a few documents, unlike if you were applying for a new passport from scratch. Renewals can also be made by mail if you cannot visit the passport agency. Simply visit the VisaHQ passport service page to apply for our renewal by mail service. When should I renew my passport? We recommend we do so if it has less than one year left.