You Can Now Renew Your Passport Online Again—Kind Of

Only a small number of applications will be accepted each day, so it’s not a guarantee, but could be worth a shot for the sheer convenience the online offering provides.

A U.S. passport resting atop an Apple laptop keyboard

Could another online passport renewal pilot program mean a more permanent online option in the near future?

Evgenia Parajanian/Shutterstock

Some Americans can now renew their passports without leaving their house.

The State Department, which oversees the issuance of passports, quietly announced that it has released a new beta test of an online passport renewal program on June 12, allowing travelers to complete and submit their renewal applications virtually. Americans who qualify to apply online are not required to mail in their old passport or any supporting documents. The move comes more than two years after President Biden signed an executive order allowing U.S. citizens to renew their passports online, and marks the second time the State Department is testing an online renewal function out. In August 2022, a pilot program allowed volunteers who met certain criteria to renew their passport online. All told, more than 500,000 people participated in that initial program before it was put on pause on March 8, 2023.

The current online renewal program will accept a small number of applications each day, for a limited midday Eastern Time window, which will close when it reaches the limit according to a State Department spokesperson, gradually ramping up over time, so the government “can track any issues that arise and address them quickly and continuously improve the experience for the American people.”

“Our top priority is to ensure a smooth online passport renewal process,” the State Department spokesperson told Afar, adding that, “making a new tool like this available in beta and gradually increasing volume and making windows of availability longer over time is a standard and widely-used practice across industry and government for launching a new product—and allowing the public to participate is important to monitor how the site is performing at scale in a real-world environment.”

Applicants need to first create a account to access the program. And like the previous pilot program that the State Department originally unveiled in August 2022, there are certain criteria travelers need to meet to qualify, including that they must be:

  • At least 25 years old
  • Renewing a passport that was issued between 2009 and 2015 (it needs to have been valid for 10 years, but be no more than 15 years old)
  • Renewing a passport that is set to expire within one year or has already expired

It is important to note that those who wish to change their name, gender, birthplace, or date of birth cannot do so during beta testing. Applicants must also be in possession of their passport—those who have lost their passport or had it stolen cannot apply online. Finally, it must be a regular tourist passport (not a diplomatic, official, or service passport) and travelers need to have the ability to upload their own photo.

Renewing a passport online will cost $130—credit or debit cards are the only approved payment methods.

Expedited or urgent passport renewal cannot be done online during the beta testing period. The processing time for renewals done on the web is expected to be the same as those mailed in, which is currently six to eight weeks. Because your passport will be canceled upon submission, it’s important not to have any overseas travel scheduled during the processing period (those who need a new passport and have immediate travel plans are advised to make an appointment at a passport center).

“We understand not everyone who wishes to apply online will be able to do so on the day of their choice during this beta,” the State Department spokesperson said. “Anyone who is not eligible to submit their application online or prefers to renew by mail can do so.”

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at Afar. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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