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US citizens can renew their passports online. Step-by-Step Guide

The State Department has reopened its online passport renewal. The program is available only for routine renewals, not expedited services.

American passport. online passport

On Wednesday, the State Department declared the revival of a trial service for online passport renewals, with plans to open the system for all eligible applicants soon. Currently, the rollout for online passport renewals is restricted to specific times. Starting midday Eastern time, the State Department will accept a limited number of applications daily. Once the portal reaches its daily limit, it will close until the next day.

To qualify for an online passport renewal, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be U.S. citizens and residents aged 25 and older who have had an existing passport for 10 years. The passport must still be in the applicant’s possession (not previously reported lost or stolen, although it can be expired).
  • Not be changing their name, gender, date of birth, or place of birth for the new passport.
  • Live in a U.S. state or territory.
  • Be applying for a regular tourist passport.
  • Be able to upload a recent digital photo.
  • Be able to pay the renewal fee online using either a debit or credit card.

The State Department emphasizes that those who do not meet these criteria or who choose not to renew their passports online can still submit their renewal applications by mail or in person at a passport agency or center.

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Processing times

State Department officials have confirmed that the processing times for online passport renewals are the same as those for mail-in renewals. This means applicants can expect the same level of service and efficiency regardless of their chosen method.

The online renewal system was initially launched in 2021 following an executive order from President Biden aimed at modernizing and improving government services. However, the program faced several interruptions and was paused indefinitely in March 2023 due to various technical and logistical challenges.

The previous year saw a significant backlog in passport renewals, leading to delays that affected many Americans’ travel plans. This backlog was attributed to an “unprecedented demand for passports.” In 2023 alone, the U.S. issued over 24 million passports, setting a record compared to the 22 million issued in the previous year.

For those planning to renew their passports, it is essential to stay updated with the State Department’s announcements regarding the availability and timing of the online renewal portal. Ensuring all required documents and criteria are met will help facilitate a smooth and efficient renewal process.

By reintroducing the online renewal option, the State Department aims to alleviate some of the pressures from the traditional mail-in and in-person renewal methods. This initiative is part of a broader effort to modernize government services and make them more accessible to the public.

Step-by-Step Guide to Online Passport Renewal

  1. Prepare Your Documents: Ensure you have your current passport, a recent digital photo, and your payment method (debit or credit card) ready.
  2. Access the Portal: Visit the U.S. State Department’s official website and navigate to the passport renewal section.
  3. Fill Out the Application: Complete the online application form with your personal information and upload the necessary documents.
  4. Submit Your Application: Once you have filled out the form and uploaded your documents, submit your application. Remember that the portal might close if the daily limit is reached, so plan accordingly.
  5. Wait for Processing: The processing time for online renewals is the same as mail-in renewals. You can check the status of your application through the State Department’s website.
  6. Receive Your New Passport: Once processed, your new passport will be mailed to you. Ensure your mailing address is accurate to avoid any delivery issues.



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