Getting a US passport renewed promptly

The US State Department says that an “expedited” passport renewal by mail has a processing time of 7-9 weeks.  I recently had the good fortune to get a renewal done by mail in less than a month.   My renewal papers got delivered to the State Department on August 16, 2023, and I had my new passport in hand on September 15, 2023.   Here are things that probably helped. 

There are several things that the holder of a US passport can do to improve the chances of getting a renewal by mail done promptly:

    • Have the good fortune to not be subject to any delay factors:
      • you are in the US;
      • you want the new passport sent to you in the US;
      • you have your old passport and passport card in your possession;
      • you can send them in with your renewal application;
      • the passport and passport card are not damaged other than ordinary wear and tear;
      • you have never reported either the passport or the passport card lost or stolen;
      • the passport and passport card were issued within the past 15 years;
      • they were issued when you were 16 years of age or older;
      • they were issued in your current name;
      • the old passport was not limited to less than the normal ten-year period of validity for an adult passport.
    • Use a passport photo prepared by someone who has substantial experience with passport photos.  Do not try to take your own passport photo.
    • Use the Form Filler tool to generate a computer-readable Form DS-82.  This contains all of your renewal information such as your old passport number, date of birth, and the number of your old passport card.  The form has a 2D bar code containing all of your renewal information.  Double and triple-check all of the information that you are entering on the Form DS-82 for correctness.
    • Pay the extra $60 for “expedited” processing.
    • Pay the extra $19.53 for prompt return shipping of the new passport to you (by overnight postal delivery).
    • When sealing up the overnight courier envelope, check it carefully to make sure everything is in the envelope that needs to be in the envelope:
      • old passport;
      • old passport card;
      • new passport photo;
      • computer-readable Form DS-82;  and
      • check for the correct amount of money.
    • Address the courier package to the special post office box for “expedited” processing.
    • Send the renewal package to the State Department by Priority Mail Express (overnight postal delivery).

I suppose some readers do not have a passport card.  In that case, ignore the mentions of “passport card” above.

3 Replies to “Getting a US passport renewed promptly”

  1. Living The Netherlands, where you have to file the request for a new passport (and the photo yourself at the city hall, and the officer carefully checks if the person matches the photo in the old passport and if the new photo matches the person, I wonder if such checks are done in USA? (in NL, the new passport can be delivered to your home but only with a special courier service and you have to accept the delivery in person).

  2. I just sent in my passport renewal application and I realized that the Passport Office is scamming citizens.
    I became a US Citizen in July 2004 and immediately applied for a US Passport. It was issued on 11 August 2004 and expired on 10 August 2014. I renewed it early, so that the replacement was issued on 02 March 2014 and expires on 01 March 2024.
    So the Passport Office cheated me out of 161 days.
    It seems to me that it would be reasonable to expect that the new passport, regardless of the issue date, should be good for ten years from the expiration date of the old passport. That is what happens when I renew a magazine or software subscription.
    The Biden administration is (rightly) complaining about airlines charging hidden fees, but the US Government has been getting away with this rip-off for years.

  3. I just received my new passport today, Dec 14, not bad as I mailed it on November 22. But once again, the Passport Office cheated me. The old passport expired on March 1, 2024, the new one expires on Dec 7, 2033. So this time I lost 85 days. Last time it was 161. The passport office has stolen 246 days from the two passports. If I renew early in 2033, as they recommend, I will have lost an entire year for which I have paid. I will be contacting my elected representatives about this theft.

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