The US State Department is about to officially launch its online passport renewal system to all Americans. Before it goes into full swing, the MyTravel.gov website is launching monthly pilot programs for people wanting to test out the online renewal system.
The October pilot program is currently open, but you’ll need to act fast – the first test period in August filled all 25,000 available slots in 10 days.
The online passport renewal system stems from an executive order by President Joe Biden stating that “the Secretary of State shall design and deliver a new online passport renewal experience that does not require the submission of any physical document” .
The agency accepted 25,000 applications in August and September, so it is likely to accept the same amount in October. To join the online passport renewal pilot program, you must be prepared with a MyTravelGov account and know all program restrictions. Read on to find out who can apply for a passport renewal online and how the system works.
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How does the new online passport renewal program work?
Normally, you handle a passport renewal by mail. You pack up your old physical passport, complete Form DS-82, include a new physical passport photo, calculate your passport renewal fee, add a check or money order, mail your application, and wait a few months.
For faster processing, a $60 expedited service fee currently reduces wait times to five to seven weeks, and the State Department has special processes for extremely urgent or emergency travel.
With the new passport renewal system, you can complete the application online, upload a digital photo, pay electronically…and wait a few more months. Maybe.
The State Department isn’t yet promising expedited online passport renewals — it’s still sticking to its estimate of eight to 11 weeks, regardless of how you apply. However, early online passport renewal applicants have reported quick turnaround times – some as long as two weeks or even less.
Despite the increased ease of online application processing, passport fees will remain the same: $130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, and $160 for both. Online applicants can also pay the additional $60 fee for expedited service.
Who can renew their passport online?
During the testing phase of the online passport renewal system, the Department of State implemented strict rules on who can apply. The two main requirements are:
- Applicants for passport renewal must be at least 25 years old and have an existing physical passport in good condition, valid or valid for 10 years
- This required passport must have been issued at least nine years ago, but no more than 15 years ago (between 2007 and 2013)
These are the main requirements for online passport renewal, but the Department of State includes additional caveats:
- You cannot change your name, gender, date or place of birth
- You can only renew tourist passports online, not special issues
- You must live in the United States
- You must be able to pay your passport fees by credit card, debit card or ACH electronic bank transfer
- You must be able to upload an acceptable digital passport photo
- You should be aware that your existing passport will immediately become invalid
If I am eligible, how do I renew my passport online?
You will first need to create a MyTravelGov account on the Department of State website, if you do not already have one. Don’t worry – the process is much quicker and faster thanWhere .
Visit the MyTravelGov portal and click on the big blue button that says Click here to login to your MyTravelGov account. This will take you to the login page, but if you don’t have an account yet, click Register basically.
A quick registration form asks for your legal name, email address, and a strong password. That’s all that’s required, although you can also include your mailing address, which the State Department may need. After completing the CAPTCHA, click on the blue Create an account button.
MyTravelGov will then send you a verification email to the email address you provided in the registration form. Click on the verification link and MyTravelGov will ask you to answer three security questions. I suggest you save your answers somewhere where you won’t lose them.
After answering the security questions, MyTravelGov will then send a one-time code to your email address which will allow you to log into your account. If you need help managing MyTravelGov registration, a helpful video tutorial from the Department of State can walk you through the process:
Once you have created your MyTravelGov account, a message on the home page will offer you an option to “Renew Passport”.
What’s next for the online passport renewal program?
The Department of State uses these pilot programs to test the stability and performance of its online passport renewal system. If all goes well, the department will open the system to all Americans sometime in 2023. We’ll continue to update this article as new pilot programs open and close and renewal of Online passports are becoming available to more Americans.
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