Biden Signs Order That Will Allow Online U.S. Passport Renewal

Also on the agenda—reducing airport screening times.

Biden Signs Order That Will Allow Online U.S. Passport Renewal

We may soon be able to complete the entire passport renewal process virtually.

Photo by Shutterstock

It’s not clear exactly when and it’s not clear exactly how, but the mail-in U.S. passport renewal process could soon be a thing of the past, according to an executive order signed by President Joe Biden on December 13.

“Americans will be able to renew their passports securely online, saving time from having to wait and the effort and cost required to print, go to a post office, and use a paper check. This new online process will be done with safety and security,” a fact sheet about the order on “Transforming [the] Federal Customer Experience” stated.

Right now, you cannot apply for a passport onlineapplicants who are eligible for mail-in passport renewal fill out and download the necessary forms online, but then must send the physical printouts of those forms along with the expired or expiring passport to a processing center.

Those who are in possession of a passport that was issued when they were at least 16 years old (and no more than 15 years ago) can apply for passport renewal by mail. Children under 16, all first-time applicants, and applicants who have lost their passport or had it stolen must apply in person.

Unfortunately, there’s not much else we know about the administration’s move toward an online passport renewal system, but surely many international travelers will be awaiting further details with bated breath.

The president had some additional good news for the millions of fliers who travel through U.S. airports each day.

“Passengers will have shorter security and check-in lines at airports due to increased use of technologies, like new security machines and computers with advanced screening features that streamline these processes,” the administration stated in its fact sheet.

The Secretary of Homeland Security has also been directed to create more and better opportunities for customers to communicate with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), so that travelers can provide feedback to the agency.

Online passport renewal? Shorter airport lines? Did the holidays come early this year?

The new executive order also aims to make it easier to claim retirement payments, file taxes, and access healthcare and additional government information and benefits.

>> Next: How to Expedite Your U.S. Passport Application

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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