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U.S. State Department Unveils Pilot Program For Online Passport Renewal

By on September 21, 2022 0 299Views

Good news for travelers who may want more convenience in their passport renewal process.

The U.S. State Department recently launched a pilot program that will allow certain people to renew their passports online.

Following the success of a pilot program for online passport renewal this past summer, the U.S. State Department plans to fully launch an online passport renewal option for the general public in early 2023.

The change will help elevate and eliminate hours of waiting in lines and the need for piles of paperwork. However, if you are hoping for quick turnaround, official are saying it will still take some time to actually receive your final passport. Officials say the processing times for online renewal will remain the same as those sent via mail. The new process change does not guarantee to shorten the wait time to actually receive your passport in hand, it does however streamline the process by cutting down the  paperwork for both applicants and State Department officials.

Currently, in most circumstances, U.S. passports can be renewed by mail, however the process requires applicants print and complete multiple documents, while also sending printed photographs and payment.

Some rules remain in effect. For applicants under the age of 16, those applying for a first-time passport, or someone renewing for a lost or stolen passport, neither the mail-in nor online will be an option. Those applicants must still appear in person at a passport acceptance facility.

The new process change also will not help alleviate those who may be in a time crunch to receive their final passport.  Those needing their documents in six weeks or less can only be obtained with an appointment at one of the State Department’s 26 official passport centers and passport agencies, where passports can be renewed in person and obtained the same day for a $60 expediting fee.

To join the pilot program for online passport renewal, applicants will need to create an account at MyTravelGov, a process that requires an email address. After logging in, the page will contain a link to the online passport renewal system, which will require entering your passport number and uploading a digital photo. Users will be required to go through multiple steps to complete the process.

Travelers wanting to take part in the program must meet the following criteria:

  • Your most recent passport is/was valid for 10 years, and you are age 25 or older.
  • Your recent passport was issued over 9 years ago (2013) but less than 15 years ago (2007) from the date you plan to submit your application. Your passport can be expired.
  • You are not changing your name, gender, date of birth, or place of birth.
  • You are not traveling internationally for at least six weeks from the date you will submit your application.
  • You are applying for a regular (tourist) passport. You cannot renew a special issuance (diplomatic, official, service) passport online.
  • You live in the United States. You do not qualify to renew online if you live in a foreign country or have an Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) address.
  • 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 using a credit/debit card or an ACH payment by transferring funds from your bank account.
  • Must be able to upload a digital passport photo (.JPEG file format). Go to Uploading a Digital Photo for more information.
  • 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.

Online passport renewal fees will be the same as traditional renewal fees: $130 for an adult and $135 for a minor. An additional $60 fee for expedited service also remains the same.