U.S. Temporarily Reopens Pilot Program for Online Passport Renewal

The State Department has reopened the online portal for Americans to renew their passports—but only for a limited time.

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

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

Photo by Shutterstock

For the third time since the initial rollout, the U.S. Department of State has reopened the portal for Americans to renew their passports online on a first-come, first-service basis—though if the first two iterations of were any indication, the slots are likely to fill up quickly.

“We are temporarily opening our online renewal service to new customers beginning October 11,” says the State Department website. “Thank you for volunteering and testing our system during this pilot program.”

The State Department originally unveiled the online passport renewal pilot program in August, allowing 25,000 applicants to test the functionality of the new program. With it, Americans would no longer be required to mail in their old passport or any supporting documents. The program was again opened to 25,000 applicants in September, so it’s likely the threshold that the State Department will be working with in the October round, as well.

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.

The August rollout of the program came 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 miss this round, don’t worry. The State Department plans to do another round of pilot testing in November and will roll out online renewals to the greater general public next year.

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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