How to Renew Your Passport at the Post Office

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Check eligibility for mail renewal.
  • Prepare application package with Form DS-82, photo, and renewal fee.
  • Mail application with USPS tracking and track progress after 5-6 weeks.
  • Schedule a post office appointment, double-check documents, and inquire about photo services.

When you have to travel outside of the US, your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months from your return date. If you are about to travel and realize that you need to renew your passport, you have a few options. The options to renew your passport may be closer than you think.

Luckily, you can renew your passport in just a few simple steps at the post office. Read on to learn all about how to renew your passport at the post office!

Post Office Passport Renewal Overview

If you want to travel abroad, you’re absolutely going to need a valid passport, so it should be the first thing you have ready before boarding the plane. If your passport needs renewal, you are in luck now, because you can apply for this document at a post office.

Renewing your passport at the post office is one of those perks that can make your life a lot easier, especially if you don’t live very close to the passport acceptance center.

At the same time, it is important to bear in mind that the Postal Service is not the one processing the passports or issuing them. It only lets you make applications for obtaining a passport or obtaining other passport-related services and products.

As of this writing, there are more than 4,800 post offices across the U.S. that allow people to apply for passport renewal. You can find your local PO by using USPS’s Post Office Locator tool.

Changes Due to COVID-19

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the way Post Offices accept passport renewal applications also changed. Starting in March 2020, the Postal Service started processing every passport application based on appointments. This is a temporary measure they had to take because of the pandemic.

Therefore, it is essential to make an appointment for your passport renewal at a Post Office lobby self-service kiosk or use an online scheduler for it.

How to Renew a Passport at the Post Office

If you decide that renewing your passport at the post office is the best option, then you should know the right steps to follow. Here are the simple steps you can follow to renew your passport at the Post Office:

  1. Check Your Eligibility to Renew by Mail
  2. Prepare Your Application Package
  3. Mail Your Renewal Application
  4. Follow Your Application Progress

Below, we’ll look at each of these steps in more detail. Read on to learn more!

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility to Renew by Mail

First, you will have to check if you are eligible to renew your travel document by mail. This is important because there are some restrictions on who may renew their passport by mail. Minors, for example, cannot renew by mail.

Adult passports will need to meet a few additional requirements to be eligible for renewal by mail, including the passport:

  • Was given to you when you were 16 years or older
  • Was issued during the last 15 years
  • Has no damage apart from normal “wear and tear”
  • Is in your possession so you can send it with your application
  • Was offered to you in your present name; or
  • Have you changed your name and can document it

You should not renew your passport by mail if your travel document does not meet these requirements. In this situation, you will have to prepare the same application package as someone who applies for the first time.

Step 2: Prepare Your Application Package

If you are eligible to renew by mail, then it’s time to prepare your application package. To prepare your application package, you will have to

  1. Complete the Passport Renewal Application Form DS-82
  2. Print it and sign Form DS-82
  3. Get your passport photo taken (done only by appointment at certain Post Offices)
  4. Pay the renewal fee

Please note that it’s always better to renew early because many countries will ask for a valid passport with more than six months of validity remaining to enter the country.

Step 3: Finalize and Mail Your Renewal Application

Once you’ve worked through these steps, collect your current or expired passport, your application, and any documents regarding name changes (if applicable) and put them into a large envelope. Using a USPS delivery tracking service for this is recommended by the Department of State.

Step 4: Follow Your Application Progress

If you opt for USPS tracking, you will be able to check the progress of your application and know when it reached its destination. After 5-6 weeks from submitting the application, you will be able to check the processing status on the DoS platform.

Expedited Delivery for Passport Renewal

If you want to renew your passport by mail and speed up the process, you can pay for expedited delivery. It will allow you to mail with Priority Mail Express. With this service, your passport can be renewed within only 10 weeks. This is ideal if you need your passport renewed sooner for emergency travel.

Bear in mind that it may cost you an extra $60 to use this service.

4 Tips for Renewing Your Passport at the Post Office

To make sure the renewal process goes smoothly, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Schedule an Appointment at the Post Office

Many times, people go to a post office for a passport renewal without being aware that they have to make an appointment. Since post offices have their own operating hours or may close their passport services, it is essential to ensure that you submit your renewal application at the right time.

Therefore, making an appointment online is something to consider. With millions of passport applications being processed annually, it is hard for passport acceptance facilities to manage everything, which is why scheduling an appointment is necessary.

2. Choose Your Appointment Time Wisely

The earlier you choose your appointment time, the better. This is especially the case in large cities, where you may have to go to a post office with a lot of traffic.

Even if you scheduled an appointment at a certain time, you may not be attended to at that particular time if the post office is crowded. So, you will have to make sure you have enough free time during the day to deal with the passport renewal.

3. Double-Check Your Documents

The last thing you want is to get to the post office for renewal only to realize you don’t have all your documents. You can avoid this scenario by double-checking your documents. Make sure everything is there so you do not waste your time and delay your passport renewal.

4. Get Your Photo Taken at the Passport Office

A lot of post offices have a photo service, so ask yours if they do this as well. In case they offer the service, you will be able to save a lot of time.

Renewing a Passport at the Post Office Next Steps

Renewing your passport at a post office may be the most convenient option for you. Follow the tips in this article if you want the process to go smoothly and stress-free.

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I renew my passport at the post office?

Yes, you can renew your passport at many U.S. post offices. They offer passport renewal services for U.S. citizens, making it a convenient option for those seeking to renew their passports.

What are the eligibility requirements for renewing a passport at the post office?

To be eligible to renew your passport at the post office, you must meet certain criteria, including having your previous passport in your possession, it must be undamaged, issued when you were 16 years of age or older, issued within the last 15 years, and in your current legal name.

What form do I need to fill out for passport renewal at the post office?

You’ll typically need to complete Form DS-82, “U.S. Passport Renewal Application for Eligible Individuals,” which is available on the U.S. Department of State’s website. Be sure to fill it out accurately and follow the provided instructions.

What documents and materials do I need for passport renewal at the post office?

To renew your passport at the post office, you’ll generally need the following:

  • Form DS-82 (filled out)
  • Your most recent U.S. passport
  • A passport-sized photo
  • The passport renewal fee (check or money order)
  • Any applicable name change documents (e.g., marriage certificate or court order)

Do I need an appointment to renew my passport at the post office?

While some post offices may require appointments for passport services, many accept walk-in applicants for passport renewal. It’s a good idea to check with your local post office for their specific procedures.

How long does it take to renew a passport at the post office?

The processing time for passport renewal at the post office can vary. It typically takes about 4-6 weeks for routine processing, but expedited services are available for an additional fee, which can reduce the processing time to 2-3 weeks.

Can I renew my child’s passport at the post office?

Generally, child passport renewals require the same process as new child passports, including in-person submission and both parents’ or legal guardians’ presence. Check with the post office or the U.S. Department of State for specific requirements and procedures for renewing a child’s passport.

How much does it cost to renew a passport at the post office?

The cost of renewing a passport at the post office varies depending on several factors, including whether you opt for routine or expedited processing. Check the U.S. Department of State’s website for the most up-to-date fee information.

Can I renew my passport at the post office if it’s expired for a long time?

If your passport has been expired for more than 5 years, you may not be eligible for passport renewal and may need to apply for a new passport instead. Check with the post office or the U.S. Department of State for guidance in such cases.

How early should I renew my passport before it expires?

It’s recommended to renew your passport at least 9 months before it expires, especially if you plan to travel internationally. Some countries require that your passport be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned departure date.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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