Whether your passport has been lost or stolen or is just expired, getting it replaced should be one of your top priorities. This is especially true if you have international travel plans. The procedure for replacing your passport will depend on whether your passport has gone AWOL or is merely expired.
Expired Passport Replacement
Adult passports are good for ten years, but really, you shouldn’t wait that long to replace your passport. Go ahead and apply for your passport replacement about 9 months before your expiration date. Many countries won’t let you in if your passport expires in less than 6 months, even though it’s technically still valid.
You can replace your expired passport through the mail as long as all of the following conditions are true:
Your passport has not been lost, stolen or damaged.
Your passport was issued when you were over the age of 16, and has been expired for less than five years.
Your passport shows the name you currently use, or you can provide legal documents like a marriage certificate or court order to request a name change.
To renew by mail, fill out a copy of passport renewal application Form DS-82. Send it to the address provided along with your current passport, a new passport photo and legal documents referencing your name change if necessary. Also include a check or money order for the appropriate fees.
If you don’t meet the requirements for renewing by mail, see the directions on replacing a lost, stolen or damaged passport below.
Lost, Stolen or Damaged Passport Replacement
To replace a lost, stolen or damaged passport, you must apply in person at a post office or other passport acceptance facility.
Bring all of the following documents:
Proof of identity, such a driver’s license, state ID card or military ID.
A photocopy of your ID.
Proof of citizenship, such as an official copy of your birth certificate with a raised seal, a naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship.
One passport photo
Also, bring a check or money order to pay the required fees.
At the office, you’ll fill out passport application form DS-11 and form DS-64 to explain what happened to your old passport. The old passport will be canceled, and your new passport should arrive in about 6 weeks.
Expedited Passport Replacement
You can expedite passport replacement services in three ways: paying an additional $ 60 fee to the Department of State, which will expedite processing to 3 weeks; making an appointment to apply at a regional passport agency (only available if you have a true travel emergency); or using a private passport expediting service (the most convenient option for most people, though you do have to pay a fee to the expediting company).
Alison Kroulek is a freelance writer and blogger with a focus on the travel industry.