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Have Passport, Will Travel!

Updated: 4 days ago

The holidays have come to a close and we are getting back into the usual day-to-day routine. Kids are back at school, parents are back at work, traffic is back to its usual "lovely" self, the list goes on and on. It's no wonder that the beginning of the year leaves so many of us wanting a vacation. Sure, we may have just had "time off", but can the hustle and bustle of the holiday season really be considered a vacation??


You make up your mind. This is the year you will go someplace new, some place exciting, some place you need a special little blue book to travel to. You search high and low for that special book that holds memories of all your past adventures only to find out...it expired.

This is the part where the average person will give up. The average person who remembers the days gone by where you had to wait in long lines to have your picture taken, wait months for an appointment with a real, live person and so on. The task seems so daunting and time consuming that many people throw in the towel and the dream of that next jet set vacation. But fear not my amazing readers! The steps to renewing an expired passport are actually a lot easier than you think. Follow these simple steps below and then contact me so I can get you flying onto your next jet set vacation before you know it!


STEP 1 - MAKE SURE YOUR PASSPORT IS ELEGIBLE FOR RENEWAL

If you have an expired passport in your possession. You are eligible for a renewal if the following are true:

  • Your passport was issued AFTER your 16th birthday.

  • Your passport was issued LESS THAN 15 years ago.

  • You have the physical passport in your possession (ie: it was not lost or stolen)

  • Your name is different now than the one you have on your passport AND you have legal documentation of your name change.

  • Your name is the same.

Have all that and ready to go? Proceed to Step 2. (See something here that makes you ineligible for a renewal? Steps on how to apply for a new passport is coming to the blog soon!)


STEP 2 - GET ALL THE NEEDED FORMS TOGETHER

While you can't 100% renew your passport online, all the information you need to do so is found on a very user-friendly website. Simply click here to be directed to the government website which details the forms you need to fill out. You can fill the necessary forms out online and print them from home or you can print the blank forms and fill them out by hand. Please note, if you fill the form out online, you MUST print a physical copy to mail into the passport agency. You CANNOT submit this form online.

STEP 3 - SAY CHEESE, SO TO SPEAK

Next up, taking your passport photo. This can be done a couple of different ways. My preferred way to do it is to find a local Walgreens or Staples that takes passport photos in person. You don't need an appointment, just walk in and have them take your photo. Make sure you do not wear a white top and hair is pulled back from the face so your ears can be seen. I recently did this with my husband and three girls. It was easy and we were done in a flash!

You can also follow the guidelines laid out here to take your own passport photo at home. There is even a handy photo tool there to help make sure your photo matches all the requirements. Don't expect your photo to come out "social media" ready, you aren't allowed to smile anymore.

Step 4 - GET YOUR FEES TOGETHER

Passport fees can vary based on age, where you live, etc. Visit this website to calculate your specific passport fees. Keep in mind if you will need to expedite your passport or not. More information about that in the final step. Fees must be paid by check or money order when renewing by mail. If you decide to renew in person at a passport agency, you have the additional option to pay by credit card or cash. You will, however, need an appointment to apply in person.

Step 5 - GATHER ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS

If your name has changed from the name listed on your expired passport, you will need to provide documentation of a legal name change. This can be in the form of a marriage license, divorce certificate, adoption paperwork or any other form of legal name change. Original copies are required, so make sure you have an additional original or copy for yourself in case something happens to the copy you submit to the passport agency upon return to you.

Step 6 - CHECK THE CURRENT PROCESSING TIMES

Processing times for passports will vary depending upon where you live. You can click here for current processing times. Please keep in mind, the times listed do not include the mail time to get to the passport office or back to you one the process is complete. If you are traveling within the next 6 months, I would highly suggest expediting your passport application. This is simply done for a slightly larger fee.

Step 7 - PUT ALL DOCUMENTS, PAYMENT, PHOTOS AND EXPIRED PASSPORT IN A STURDY ENVELOPE

Just like Santa, make your list and check it twice! You want to make sure you have EVERYTHING required before mailing in your application. The last thing you want is to have to go through the process all over again because something was overlooked.

Step 8 - CONTACT ME AND LET'S GET STARTED PLANNING ALL THE PLACES YOUR NEW PASSPORT WILL BE STAMPED IN THE UPCOMING YEAR!


Stay tuned for a blog post detailing all you need to do to apply for your very first passport or apply for one for your children!


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