Online Passport Renewal Has a Successful Test Run | Travel Research Online


Online Passport Renewal Has a Successful Test Run

One single hand holding a blue American passport in front of a b

On Friday, September 16th, the US State Department began the test run of their online passport renewal program. Almost 24 hours later, the program met its monthly quota of 25,000 participants and shut down temporarily. Stated in a post on their website, “We are temporarily closing down the online renewal service to new customers and plan to reopen it again in October.”

Almost every traveler knows the pain of updating travel documents, whether it be a visa or passport. So, it’s understandable that some would be dismayed at not being included, or perhaps that they won’t be in the near future.

However, as the State Department was announcing that the program would be closed due to the limit reached, they also announced that another run of the program would start in October. From their website, “We will post updates on this page by mid-October.”

Continuing from the post on their website from September 17th, “If you activated your MyTravelGov account before 12:24 p.m. ET on September 17, you can still submit and manage your application online if you meet the requirements[.]” If the traveler’s MyTravelGov account was activated after this time, the traveler will have to wait until the next iteration of the program in October—for online passport renewal. Standard renewals by mail will still be accepted as normal.

Requirements and Details

The requirements for participating in the program are:

  1. Your most recent passport is/was valid for 10 years, and you are age 25 or older.
  2. Your recent passport was issued over 9 years ago (in 2013) but less than 15 years ago (in 2007) from the date you plan to submit your application. Your passport can be expired.
  3. You are not changing your name, gender, date of birth, or place of birth.
  4. You are not traveling internationally for at least five weeks from the date you will submit your application. Processing times for the online renewal service will be the same as those for renewal by mail. We will offer both routine and expedited service.
  5. You are applying for a regular (tourist) passport. You cannot renew a special issuance (diplomatic, official, service) passport online.
  6. You live in the United States (either state or territory). You do not qualify to renew online if you live in a foreign country or have an Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) address.
  7. You have your passport with you, and it is not damaged or mutilated, and you have not previously reported it as lost or stolen.
  8. You can pay for your passport using a credit/debit card or an ACH (Automated Clearing House) payment transferring funds from your bank account.
  9. You can upload a digital passport photo (.JPEG file format). Go to Uploading a Digital Photo for more information.
  10. You are aware that your most recent passport will be immediately invalidated (canceled) when you submit your application and you cannot use it for international travel.

The online passport renewal program does not seem to speed up the process of renewal, with the State Department advising against using the program if the traveler is less than 5 weeks out from international travel. Credit or debit card is accepted for online payment and, as usual, the expedited service is an additional fee.

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