How Far in Advance Should I Renew My Passport?
While renewing your passport is a very simple procedure, you need to be careful of your timing. When you leave or enter the United States, you need to present a valid passport. In some countries, your passport must also be valid for several months after your scheduled return date.
One of the most common question visitors ask at Help Guide is: How far in advance should I renew my passport? The US State Department allows anyone to renew his/her passport at any given time, regardless of when it expires.
If you plan to visit China or Russia, for instance, you need to have a passport that is still valid 6 months after you depart the United States, regardless of how long your trip to those countries actually lasts. However, if you are planning a trip to Canada, you only need a valid passport at the time of entry.
If you are ahead of the game and reading this, far in advance of when your renewal is needed, you can choose standard delivery and expect your new passport on your doorsteps in four to six weeks. This does not take into consideration the time you will take to mail your application to and from the National Passport Processing Center. For expedited renewal services, you should expect your passport application to process in two to three weeks. This is from the time it arrives at the passport center.
If you are reading this in a panic and realize that your trip is less than a month away, then you will need a expedited passport service. This usually takes two to three weeks or as quoted on the U.S. Department of State’s website, “3 weeks door-to-door”. Remember, these timelines estimate the length of time it takes from when it arrives at the processing center to when it leaves the processing center. So, you should add another week for shipping to and from. It is important to know after submitting your passport application, you cannot submit another passport form.
If you have less than two weeks, you can visit a regional passport agency in person with all required documents, and that will usually speed up the process by at least a few more days. In order to make an appointment, you may need to show proof of travel within a certain time frame. In some circumstances, you can also visit an embassy or consulate. Once there, and apply for a special visa which will grant you entry into the country. You can now also track the status of your passport application online, usually within a week from when you sent it in.
Additionally, these renewal estimates only apply if your passport was given within the last fifteen years. Or, you were older than sixteen and it has not damage. If your passport does not meet all of those requirements, you will need to apply in person.
Regardless of your destination, be sure to visit the U.S. Department of State’s website and research the country you plan on traveling to. And always remember, when it comes to renewing your passport, the earlier you submit your documents, the more peace of mind you will have. Also, the more likely you will be able to travel without any issues.
Private Passport Expediter
Hiring a passport expediter could be costly. You will need to pay an additional processing fee to the private company plus the renewal fee. Private companies usually have preexisting arrangement with the passport agencies around the United States. This gives the company access to process your application directly with the passport agency on your behalf. This service is recommended if you are in rush to get your passport and cannot get to the passport agency. U.S. Passport Help Guide highly recommends Fastport Passport. As this company has an “A” rating with the BBB of the date of publishing.