When you decide to renew your passport, one of the first things you have to make sure of is that it meets the eligibility criteria. You also have to check if all the requirements are met. Below, you will find the necessary information for the process.
In most cases, passport renewal eligibility is an issue only when you want to renew by mail. When you go to the US embassy in person, you can change any kind of passport. After all, passport services are meant to deal with ALL passport-related issues.
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Therefore, to be able to renew your passport by mail, it has to meet the following eligibility criteria:
You still have the passport you want to renew – if your passport is in your possession, you can send your renewal application by mail. If it is lost or stolen, you are required to show up at the US embassy in person to apply for a new one.
The passport you have is not damaged – as you can imagine, normal wear and tear do not fit the ‘damaged’ criteria.
A passport is considered damaged when it’s missing pages, it has indecipherable details, and the bio page is discolored. Damaged also means: the laminate is lifted enough to allow photo substitution, the chip has been deemed damaged after investigation, and so on. When your passport meets one of those conditions, it cannot be accepted as a valid form of identification.
- The passport you want to renew was issued when you were at least 16 – you cannot renew a passport that was issued when you were still a minor.
- The passport was issued within the last 15 years – If your passport is older than that, you have to go to the US embassy and apply for a new one.
- The passport is issued in your current name – If the name on your valid ID card coincides with the name on your passport, you can renew by mail. If not, there are two options. One, you have a document that attests to your name change, in which case your passport is eligible for renewal by mail. For instance, that can be a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, etc. And two, you do not have a document that proves your name change, in which case you have to show up to the embassy in person.
The conditions above are cumulative. If you do not meet even one of the requirements above, your only option is to apply for a passport renewal in person.
If your passport meets all the criteria above, you can move on and proceed to send in your passport renewal application to the US Consulate in your area. Here is what the envelope must contain:
- A completed and signed DS-82 form
- Your most recent US passport
- If applicable, the document that attests to your name change
- Passport photo (2 by 2 inches, white background, no glasses, taken in the last 6 months)
- A check or money order payable to the US Department of State for $110.
Please be advised that passport renewal eligibility is a serious issue. Make sure that your passport meets all the criteria we mentioned above before you send in your application. Otherwise, delays will occur.'
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