Although you may have obtained a US passport in the past, many travelers may need to renew their passport. Being familiar with US passport renewal laws can save both time and money. There are often fees associated with last minute US passport renewal, so be sure to renew your US passport well in advance of your scheduled date for leaving the country. Some travelers ask, "How do I renew my passport" too close to their travel date and end up having to pay express mail fees and other extra charges.
Renewing your passport by mail is the most convenient option, as opposed to renewing in person. To renew by mail, download the DS-82 application form from the internet or pick one up in person at a passport service agency. If you are a US citizen residing in Canada, you will still use the downloadable DS-82 form.
In order to renew US passports by mail, you must already have a valid, intact passport. For US passport renewal by mail, you must also have received the passport within the last 15 years and cannot have been younger than 16 when the passport was issued. You must also have the same legal name as when the passport was issued. If you do not have the same legal last name, for instance in the case of marriage or other kinds of name changes, you will need to provide a certified copy of the legal document (such as a marriage certificate) that shows your name change. Note that copies of certified documents will not be accepted; it has to be the original certified document in order to be accepted.
In order to renew your passport by mail, you will also need to send in a few documents. The application for US passport form can be downloaded from the internet or found at many local government buildings, such as the Post Office. After filling out and signing the application for US passport, send it in along with your most recent passport, two identical passport photographs, and $140 or $100 for Passport Book only. If you need expedited service, you will need to include a higher fee.
Some citizens living abroad will also need to renew their passport. For US passport renewal for US citizens residing in Canada, passports may still be renewed through the mail. After obtaining the application for US passport form, passport holders can mail their form into the US. Note that renewal fees still have to be in US dollars. To renew US passports from any other country, travelers are advised to find their nearest US Embassy or US Consulate in order to renew their passport. This will need to be done in person.
Since most passport agencies within the US only accept passport renewals by appointment, it is generally most convenient to renew your passport by mail. You can find information about your local passport agencies online or through your local government's information. Be sure to include all of your documents in a padded envelope, and note that it is often a good idea to send your documents via secured or registered mail, since you will be sending in a copy of your passport.