After the launch of a successful pilot program last fall, many Americans are now able to renew their passport online in 15 minutes or less.
The U.S. Department of State began trialing the online renewal system last September with the goal of making it a permanent program in 2023.
In November 2022, the online renewal system opened up to the general public, and as of January 2023, it’s still available.
Here’s what you need to know about renewing your U.S. passport online:
Why Renew Your Passport Online?
Previously, the only way to renew your passport was in-person or by mail. Renewing online saves lots of time and is less hassle.
Last year, passport processing times stretched to 11 weeks or more due to a backlog. This does not include mailing time and the estimated processing time only began once the agency received your passport application.
This year, the U.S. Department of State has shortened the processing time for passport renewals, in part thanks to the new online system.
Right now, you can expect to wait 6 to 9 weeks for routine processing and 3 to 5 weeks for expedited processing.
Renewing your passport costs $130 for routine processing and an additional $60 for expedited processing.
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The cost is the same whether you are renewing your passport online, by mail, or in person. Since it’s the same price and since it eliminates mailing time, renewing your passport online is by far the easiest option.
Who Is Eligible?
Not everyone is eligible to renew their passport online. However, many Americans will be able to, provided they meet the following criteria, which is provided by the U.S. Department of State:
- You are over 25, and your last passport had a 10 year validity.
- Your last passport was issued less than 15 but over 9 years from the date you are going to submit your application. Your passport is allowed to be expired.
- You are not changing your gender, name, date or place of birth.
- You aren’t traveling out of the country for at least six weeks from the date you will turn in your application.
- You are applying for a standard passport as a tourist only. Special passports like diplomatic passports online.
- You live in the U.S. (territories count as well).
- You physically have your passport, and it is in good condition and undamaged, and it isn’t lost or stolen.
- You can pay for your passport with ACH from your bank or with a credit or debit card.
- You are able to upload a JPG version of your passport photo.
- You know that as soon as you submit your application, you cannot use your current passport for traveling out of the country because it will be immediately invalidated.
Note that you are only able to renew your passport online. If you have never had a passport, you cannot apply for one online.
How To Renew Your Passport Online
If you meet all of the criteria above, you can renew your passport online. It’s a simple process that takes less than 15 minutes.
All you’ll need to do is follow the steps on this page from the U.S. Department of State.
You will need to register for a MyTravelGov account, then wait up to 24 hours for the “Renew Passport” button to appear in your account.
At that point, you will fill out a simple application. You’ll need your old passport on hand so you can provide your passport number, issue date, and expiration date.
You’ll also need a digital passport photo to attach. This just needs to be a photo of yourself with dimensions of at least 600×600 pixels against a plain white background. You can see the full photo requirements here.
After that, you’ll just need to pay the $130 processing fee (add $60 for expedited processing) and wait for your new passport to arrive!
All in all, the process takes no more than 15 minutes.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com