Travel is one of the greatest pleasures in life. To see different cultures, people, and places can renew our sense of purpose and expand our perspectives in ways we might not even have thought possible.
Many of the younger generations would even rather travel than own property.
If you find yourself with a case of wanderlust as well, you’ll probably be itching to get overseas or out of the country soon. But you’ll need to take care of a few things first, and renewing your passport might be a priority among them.
Though it sounds like a big task, renewing your passport doesn’t have to be difficult. Read on, and we’ll walk you through how to renew your passport fast and with little hassle.
Do I Need to Renew My Passport?
The short answer is yes.
The last thing you want to do is attempt to travel with a nearly expired or fully expired passport. You’re sure to be stopped at customs and not allowed through if you attempt it. In the worst case scenario, you could get yourself stuck overseas and away from home.
The best time to get your passport renewed is about six months prior to expiration. This gives you plenty of fluff time to get the job done without needing to worry.
The process, of course, won’t actually take six months. But there are many countries around the world that require three months validity to allow you in or out. So it’s best to get working on a renewal far in advance, just in case.
Renewing Your Passport by Mail
Many people prefer to renew their passport through the mail so that they can avoid standing in lines or irritating commutes. There are a number of criteria you have to hit to be allowed to renew via mail carrier.
Your passport will need to have been issued in the last 15 years. It needs to be in your current name, undamaged, and you need to have been at least 16 when you first received it.
If you fit the criteria, then you can start the renew by mail process. You’ll need to obtain a DS-82 form, which can be easily found online. The form requires a variety of fairly expected information on your passport and yourself, including social security number.
You’ll then send in an envelope: the completed form, a current photo of yourself, your old passport, and a check with the appropriate renewal fee. If you’ve changed your name, include applicable documents with your application.
When it comes to your photo, make sure you’re following the proper criteria. Many passport applications are denied because of the photo the sender decided to include. Make sure that your photo is 2×2 inches in size, in color, and is of your full face.
Do not wear glasses, headphones, hats, or anything that would cover any part of your head or face.
Send it all off in an envelope that’s large enough to contain the application without folding. You’ll definitely want to sign up for trackable delivery so you can ensure that your application arrives without a hitch.
And we know what you’re thinking, but don’t worry: they will send your old passport back.
Renewing Your Passport in Person
If you aren’t able to renew via mail or would rather go in person, the process is similar. You’ll need to gather a similar list of materials: a DS-11 application form, proof of citizenship, ID, and a form of payment for the processing fee.
With immigration and citizenship being such a hot button issue these days, you’ll need to really ensure that your proof of citizenship is valid. Higher scrutiny is resulting in more denied applications. It’s a good idea to bring in more than one element of proof if have another available to you.
There are regional passport offices around the country that you can visit to have your own passport renewed. You should look up the closest one to you. They can be as close as down the block or as far as a state over, depending on where you are located.
Is There a Way to Speed Up the Process?
Maybe you waited too long to get your passport renewed, or you have an upcoming trip you need to depart on soon. But the standard waiting time for mailed in passport renewal is four to six weeks. That doesn’t work for you.
Is there a way to get your passport renewed quicker? You can use expedited services in the mail or in person to try and speed up the process, though they will cost you more from your wallet.
But if you’re in a real rush, you might want to consider third-party services. There are some companies that expedite passport renewals. For a fee, these companies will get your information, hand deliver it to agencies, and turn around a new passport in as quick as 24 hours.
Depending on where you’re located, googling “find a passport near me” may be your best bet. Such companies are usually located in major cities, but many allow you to apply online instead of having to arrive in person.
How to Renew Your Passport Fast
If you’re itching to get overseas, you’ll want to know how to renew your passport fast and efficiently. The process you choose all depends on the budget and the amount of time you’ve allowed yourself to get the job done.
Need more traveling advice, tips, or tricks? Check out our blog for more information.