If you have already been through the application process for a United States passport and received one, there are several options available for renewal.

You can renew your passport by mail if you meet all of the following criteria:

  • You are in possession of your old, expired passport.
  • That expired passport is in good condition.
  • You received the expired passport when you were age 16 or older.
  • You received the expired passport within the last 15 years.
  • The name you want on the renewed passport is the same as the name on the expired passport, or, if you have changed your name, you have an original or a certified copy of legal name-change forms.

If any of these factors are not true, you must apply to renew your passport in person using a DS-11 form. Passports can be renewed in many places such as a post office, court clerk’s office, or Department of State Passport Agency.

What Should I Expect?

If you are eligible to renew by mail, you will need to fill out a form DS-82. Mail it back with the copy of your expired passport, a new passport photo, the applicable fee, and, if necessary, name change documents. Mail all of these materials to the specified address.

If you are a frequent international traveler, you may also request a larger passport book be sent to you as part of the application process.

Can My Passport Renewal Be Denied?

There are several reasons a passport may be revoked or a renewal application may be denied. Individuals who are in nonpayment violation of tax debts or child support, who have been convicted of certain kinds of kinds including sex or drug trafficking, or individuals who have had their citizenship revoked might have their passports revoked or their renewal applications denied as a result.

However, there are also several administrative errors that can lead to delays or denials in the passport renewal process. It is important to make sure that every form is completely filled out correctly and that all fields are legible. Omitting any information, especially crucial identifying information such as social security number, birthday, or important addresses, could lead to a denial of the renewal application.

Finally, be sure to include the check made out to the correct party for the correct amount. Your passport renewal applicant could be denied if the payment is omitted or inadequate.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

Many passport renewals for American citizens are straightforward matters that can be handled pro se, but individuals with tax issues, prior criminal convictions, child support violations, or potential immigration issues should speak with an immigration lawyer or passport lawyer to help streamline the application process. A lawyer can advise you of your best options should you face any difficulties while renewing your passport.