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Renew Your U.S. Passport Online: Easier Than Ever

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I don't know about you, but when my passport is about 10 months away from expiration, I start to think about renewing my passport.


We all know that passports can typically take 6-8 weeks to process, or sometimes even more depending on the demand.


Having dual citizenship with Italy, I've had to manage not only my U.S. Passport, but also my Italian one, and all the documentation, checklists, rules and payments can get really confusing.


fanning out several passports

With a young daughter, it adds even more complication. Did you know children can simply renew their U.S. Passport at the post office? We did that recently and it was such a breeze. It was so much simpler than going down to the local courthouse.


So as my adult U.S. passport renewal window approaches, I checked online for my options. Adults cannot renew in person at the post office and must typically renew by mail.


But guess what!?


That's no longer the only option.



Can I Renew My U.S. Passport Online?

Yes you can!


Travel.State.Gov is changing the game, drastically.


Starting June 2024, they have released a beta (meaning, still being tested) online application system. I logged in today to see what it was all about, and to get my passport renewal started.

screenshot of beta release

This beta release decision comes on the coat tails of a start and stop similar operation back in 2021, according to NPR. It never really took off, but I have a feeling this time it will.



Here's What I Can Tell You:



You still have to meet eligibility requirements

Your passport needs to be expiring within one year, among many other requirements that you may find at the gov website.


Damaged or mutilated passports are not eligible. I.e., if you accidentally threw your passport into the laundry...(yea, I did this once).


Example of damaged passport
Example of damaged passport


You will need to sign up for a secondary system: https://mytravel.state.gov/

This only takes a few minutes and requires basic information.


Then, you need to hit the system at the right time of day.


screenshot from online system

The website indicates that you should log in around mid day to try and snag a spot. Folks who get into the system on time get to start the next step.


Because they are still beta testing, there are only a few slots available per day. You'd essentially be helping to test the system for bugs by entering your data so they don't want to overload the system with thousands of applications at once.


If you are one of the lucky ones, you can start your application.

You have 30 days to complete it.


Be prepared for your existing passport to be invalid.

Although typically you may submit your passport with your mailed in application and documents, this is not necessary for online passport renewal. You can keep your passport, but it will not be valid for travel once you have submitted your application.


passport and backpack

If you need expedited or urgent passport renewal service, you cannot apply online.

Follow the 'apply by mail' instructions, or applicable 'urgent application' instructions instead.





You need to submit a digital photo that meets requirements

No selfies. Keep within the same reasonable requirements of printed passport photos. Have this photo prepared before you begin your application.




Payment is made by credit card

You will sign and pay with your credit card to complete the process. Status updates will be emailed to you.



Advantages of Online Passport Renewal

Pretty easy, right?


No stamp licking, no finding the proper sized envelope, and no anxiety of sending off your paperwork through the mail.


This streamlined process will be a huge game changer and I can't wait to get in the queue to use it!



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