U.S. Announces Pilot Program for Online Passport Renewal

Only 25,000 Americans will be allowed to take part in the pilot program.

Passport

The new program will allow Americans to renew their passport fully online for the first time.

Photo by Shutterstock

The U.S. Department of State recently unveiled a pilot program that will allow Americans to renew their passports online without having to mail in their old passport or any supporting documents. However, you’ll have to act fast.

The State Department is seeking up to 25,000 applicants to test out the functionality of the new program in August on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are some stipulations, however. To qualify for online renewal, applicants must be:

  • At least 25 years old
  • Renewing a passport that was issued between 2007 and 2013 (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’s important to note that applicants who wish to change their name, gender, date, or place of birth will not be able to renew online at this time. Applicants must also be in possession of their passport —those who have lost their passport or had it stolen cannot apply online.
The State Department said it expects the processing times for the online renewals to be the same as passports renewed by mail, meaning 8 to 11 weeks for “routine” processing and 5 to 7 weeks for “expedited” service. People with international travel plans within the next 5 weeks are not recommended to participate.

Those who want to partake in the pilot program will need to create a MyTravelGov account. The State Department will then have to register the account, which will take up to 24 hours. Once registered, applicants can log in and start their application.

The online renewal process costs the same as non-online: $130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, and $160 for both.

This announcement comes nearly eight months after President Joe Biden signed an executive order aimed at making travel simpler. Beyond being able to apply for passports online, the order also aims to make “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.”

So, if you’re not one of the 25,000 applicants, don’t worry. The State Department plans to roll out online renewals to the greater general public later this year.

Bailey Berg is the associate travel news editor at AFAR, where she covers breaking news, trends, tips, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. When not interviewing sources or writing articles, she can be found exploring art galleries, visiting craft breweries, hiking with her dogs, and planning her next adventure (at present, she’s been to 75+ countries and hopes to spend time in every one someday).