Renewing My US Passport

Old and New Passport
My New Passport Saying Adios To My Old Passport

I thought renewing my passport was going to be a bit of a drag.  I opted for the mail-in renewal because the thought of going someplace in person seemed like a waste of time.  I never knew how much I’d actually miss my passport and the feeling of freedom it provides (even though it was only gone for a short period of time).

Process

I thought I’d share the process I followed in hopes that others will realize how simple (and even quick) it can be.

  1. Go to http://travel.state.gov/passport/renew/renew_833.html where you can find details regarding the criteria for renewing via mail and the proper form to print and fill out.
  2. The application is DS-82 (http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds82/ds82_843.html).  You can fill it out online, but you still have to print it either way.  I opted to print it and then fill it in by hand so I could do it at my leisure.
  3. Once the form was filled out, I made a photocopy of my completed form and my passport to keep for my records.
  4. Along with the completed form you have to send your most recent passport, a passport photo (attached to the form), and the appropriate fees.  There may be other requirements if your name is changing due to marriage or another life event.  The above links have all the information you need.
  5. After packaging everything together, I put the date I sent the package and the tracking number (yes…ship with a tracking number…you can do this simply via the United States Postal Service or pay more and use Federal Express or UPS) on my photocopied form (see step #3).

That’s it…so easy.  Any nervousness that I had was directly attributed to letting go of my current passport.  It’s a bit nerve racking.  After I put it in the mail, it meant I couldn’t leave the United States.  Not even a quick trip to Canada.

The process took about four weeks…just as they promise on the US Department of State website.  I first received my new passport and about a week later I received my old one back with holes punched in it.  I received a third mailing as well because I opted to get a passport card.  These cards can only be used for land crossings into Mexico and Canada.  Since I live close to Canada and my parents spend half the year close to Mexico, I thought  it was worth it.  It will also be nice as a second form of ID.

Costs

For all the details go here (http://travel.state.gov/passport/fees/fees_837.html).  An adult passport is $110 (with a passport card = $140).

Other Information

When you get your passport there will be information included about other services.  I highly recommend you read through the brochures.  I learned about the Global Entry Program and TSA PreCheck.  I will post more details about those later this week.

So, if you thought renewing your passport was going to be a pain…it’s not…I promise.  The biggest pain for me was that I don’t write checks and didn’t have any on hand.  It took almost as long for my bank to send me checks as it did for me to mail and then get my passport back.

Have you renewed your passport recently?  Did the process go smoothly?

3 thoughts on “Renewing My US Passport

  1. FYI RE: Passport Cards.

    In addition to land entry into the U.S. from Canada or Mexico, it’s also valid for sea entry into the U.S. from the Caribbean and Bermuda. State Department’s Travel page on passport cards states this. So does the back of the passport card itself.

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