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Online passport renewal in the USA is back
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Online passport renewal in the USA is back

  • PublishedJune 14, 2024


The State Department has brought back its system for online passport renewals. Only certain people qualify for online renewals.

If you have ever had to renew a passport, you know how time-consuming and involved the application can be. Typically, the process involves printing forms, getting photos taken, writing a check and going to the post office to mail everything, along with your existing passport.

On Dec. 13, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order meant to tackle what he called “time taxes,” or time Americans lose waiting for lengthy government bureaucracies to deliver services. The order instructed the secretary of state to create an “online passport renewal experience that does not require any physical documents to be mailed.” 

Since then, the U.S. Department of State has initiated a series of “pilot programs,” or windows during which people can apply online to have their passports renewed. The first such pilot program ran in August 2022, during which the State Department accepted 25,000 online applications. 

Additional rounds ran in the following months, before the program was paused. Now, there’s a spike in Google Trends showing people searching about online passport renewals in the U.S. again. 

THE QUESTION

Can you now renew your passport online?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, you can renew your passport online — if you meet certain criteria.

WHAT WE FOUND

The government is testing a new online system for renewing passports again, and you can use it if you meet certain criteria, according to the Department of State.

The beta release, which eliminates the need to print documents, go to the post office and use paper checks, has been updated after President Joe Biden signed an executive order in March 2023. The order allotted $163 million for the Department of State to “revamp the delivery of Passport Services so the public can access core services online.”

Applications open “for a limited midday Eastern time window each day,” the State Department says. Once all application slots are filled for the day, the system is closed and applicants must try on another day.

The State Department says it will continue limiting daily applications over the next few months in order to monitor and prepare system performance for a full launch in the future.

Processing times are still the same as they are for mailed passports, though the online application process eliminates the time it takes to mail in the required documents. Routine passport services take 6-8 weeks. Expedited processing is not available for online renewal, according to the Department of State.

In order to apply, you must create a MyTravelGov account. Then, you can complete an application, upload a digital photo and pay online. Online applicants won’t need to mail their current passport, as is required for paper applications, but existing passports will be invalidated at the time of online application.

Not everyone can renew their passport online. You must meet the following criteria to be eligible: 

  • You are at least 25 years old, and your most recent passport is/was valid for at least 10 years

  • Your most recent passport, current or expired, was issued over 9 years ago (in 2015), but less than 15 years ago (in 2009) from the date you plan to submit your application

  • You are not changing your name, gender, date of birth or place of birth

  • You are not traveling internationally for at least eight weeks from the date you submit your application

  • You are applying for a regular (tourist) passport

  • You live in the United States

  • You have your passport with you, and it is not damaged or mutilated, and you have not previously reported it as lost or stolen

  • You can pay for your passport online using a credit or debit card

  • You can upload a digital passport photo (.JPEG file format)

  • You are aware that your most recent passport will be immediately invalidated (canceled) when you submit your application and you cannot use it for international travel

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johndweiner@gmail.com

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