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Act fast: Americans can renew their passports online for a limited time

August 10 2022
5 min read
Act fast: Americans can renew their passports online for a limited time
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Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information

If you've been putting off renewing your U.S. passport, now may be the time to do it, thanks to the launch of a pilot program on for a limited number of applicants to renew online without having to mail in or bring in your physical passport and supporting documents.

This online passport renewal portal is now open for the first 25,000 people who apply, on a first-come, first-served basis, per the U.S. Department of State. Thrifty Traveler first reported the news.

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(Screenshot from the U.S. State Department)

To renew online, travelers must be at least 25 years old and renewing a passport that was previously valid for 10 years, issued between 2007 and 2013 and set to expire within one year or are already expired. Those wishing to change their name, gender, date or place of birth on their next passport cannot do so online.

Additionally, those with international travel planned within the next five weeks should not attempt to renew online since processing times for the online renewal service will be the same as those for renewal by mail. Current wait times for processing are eight to 11 weeks for routine service and five to eight weeks for expedited service.

(Screenshot from the U.S. State Department)

Travelers can renew both passport books and cards online for the same fees as non-online renewals, specifically $130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card and $160 for a passport book and card.

"Please note if you have a passport book and want a passport card only, OR if you have a passport card and want a passport book only, you cannot renew online," says the State Department.

To be considered for online renewal, you must meet all of the above qualifications, plus others detailed online. To submit your application, start by creating a MyTravelGov account online.

(Screenshot from the U.S. State Department)

From there, applicants should receive an email to verify their account, containing a link you'll click on to do so. Within 24 hours, the State Department should register your account, after which you can log in to your MyTravelGov account and begin your application.

"I only had to wait four hours after creating my account," said TPG senior marketing manager Caroline English. "Then, I was prompted to renew my passport on the homepage."

After that, you'll need to verify you meet eligibility requirements before proceeding with the application, as shown below.

(Photo by Caroline English/The Points Guy)

From there, you'll complete the application, which includes uploading a JPEG photo of yourself for your new passport. Caroline suggests using an app, such as Passport Booth, to help take and upload a photo.

"The app made it really easy, but it was still super stressful since I have minimal shadows on my face and was worried about them rejecting it," she told me.

Other than the photo, the rest of the application is relatively straightforward.

"The limited public pilot process will help us test functionality and ensure the system operates as designed. We anticipate a full public launch of the online passport renewal option early next year," a State Department spokesperson confirmed via email. "The online portal will close for new applicants once we reach the target of 25,000 applications for this pilot."

Related: Passport expiring soon? Visit these countries within your 3-month renewal deadline

The State Department expects to launch additional opportunities open for the general public to participate in this pilot later this year, following an executive order by President Joe Biden in December for the agency to implement a new online passport renewal experience that doesn’t require any physical documents to be mailed.

"Delivering on this promise, we are working toward providing a secure online passport renewal option," the agency spokesperson said. "Our new online system will save Americans money, time, and effort, making it much more convenient to renew their passports."

Applicants should receive regular email updates about the status of their application, as non-online applicants do.

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Featured photo by Getty Images/EyeEm
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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