Americans Can Soon Renew Passports Online: Learn How It Works

Renewing a US passport has always been troublesome, but it has become more and more difficult during covid-19 pandemic When waiting times stretched up to 18 weeks. The US State Department said it has reduced the backlog of applications by about two million, but the agency still estimates eight to 11 weeks for passport renewal, not including mail times.

A new online passport renewal program may shorten this waiting time and can certainly make the process much easier. A pilot program for online passport renewal was launched by the State Department on August 2, with 25,000 open places filled by August 12.

Screenshot of the online passport renewal page showing that the August trial program has ended

MyTravelGov / screenshot by Peter Butler / CNET

The agency plans to accept another 25,000 applications in September, then roll out the program more widely in 2023. While it is not yet clear how much time the online process will save, it will eliminate submission time and some of the more difficult requirements for passport renewal.

To join the online passport renewal pilot program in September, you must be ready with a MyTravelGov account and be aware of all program restrictions. Below, I will explain who can apply for passport renewal online and how the system works.

For more travel tips, learn about The most important items for traveling abroad And the Money saving tip from The Points Guy.

How does the new online passport renewal program work?

Usually, you will handle passport renewal by mail. You’ll fill out your old physical passport, fill out Form DS-82, include a new physical passport photo, calculate the passport renewal fee, add a check or money order, cancel your application by mail, and wait two months.

For faster processing, the $60 fee for urgent service currently reduces waiting time to five to seven weeks, and the Department of State has special procedures for very urgent or emergency travel.

With the new passport renewal system, you can complete the application online, upload a digital photo, pay electronically…then wait two months. Can.

The State Department has not yet promised to urgently renew passports online – they are still committed to their eight to 11 week estimate, no matter how you submit. However, early applicants to renew passports online report fast turnaround times – some as fast as two weeks or even less.

Despite the greater ease of processing online applications, the passport fees will remain the same: $130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, and $160 for both. Online applicants can also pay an additional fee of $60 for expedited service.

Who can renew their passports online?

During the testing phase of the online passport renewal system, the State Department put in place some strict regulations on who can apply. The two main conditions are:

  • Applicants for passport renewal must be 25 years or older, with a physical passport in good condition and valid or valid for 10 years
  • The required passport must have been issued at least nine years ago, but not more than 15 years ago (between 2007 and 2013)

These are the main qualifications for online passport renewal, but the State Department has additional caveats:

  • You cannot change your name, gender, date or place of birth
  • You can renew online only for tourist passports and not for special issuance
  • You must live in the United States
  • You should be able to pay your passport fee by credit card, debit card or ACH . electronic bank transfer
  • You must be able to upload an acceptable digital passport photo
  • You should be aware that your current passport will become invalid immediately

If I qualify, how do I renew my passport online?

You will first need to create a MyTravelGov account on the State Department’s website, if you don’t already have one. Don’t worry – the process is much faster and faster than Register for an IRS account or Buy savings bonds online.

Visit the MyTravelGov portal and click the big blue button that says so Click here to login to your MyTravelGov account. This will take you to the login page, but if you don’t already have an account, tap Participation At the bottom.

A quick registration form asks for your legal name, email address, and a strong password. That’s all that’s required, although you can also include your postal address, which the State Department will eventually need. After completing the CAPTCHA, click the blue button Make an account button.

MyTravelGov will send you a verification email to the email address you have included in the registration form. Click the Verify link, and MyTravelGov will ask you to answer three security questions – I suggest recording your answers somewhere where you won’t lose them.

After you complete the security questions, MyTravelGov will then send a one-time code to your email that allows you to log into your account. If you need help managing your MyTravelGov registration, a helpful State Department video tutorial can guide you through the entire process:

Once you have created your MyTravelGov account, a message on the homepage will show you the option to “Renew Passport”, after launching the beta program back in September. (The site currently only offers the Consular Report Application for Birth Abroad.)

MyTravelGov screenshot showing online passport renewal link

After launching the next beta program, a “Passport Renewal” button will appear on your MyTravelGov homepage.

MyTravelGov / screenshot by Peter Butler / CNET

What is the next step for the online passport renewal program?

The next pilot program for online passport renewal will start in early September, although the date will be decided later. If you are eager to renew your passport online, I recommend checking the site every day at the beginning of September.

The Department of State uses these beta programs to test the stability and performance of the online passport renewal system. If all goes well, the department will open the system to all Americans sometime in 2023. We will continue to update this article as the new beta program launches and makes online passport renewal available to more Americans.

For more travel tips, learn If the trip insurance is worth the cost And the How to take better holiday photos.