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How To Renew Your Passport

Feb 5, 2008
Needing a passport to travel is just one of the facts of life when you're traveling outside of the United States. If it's been more than ten years since you have used your passport, chances are your passport has expired and you will need to renew it in order to travel outside the country.

Of course, if you are traveling to Canada or Mexico by land or sea, you may not need your passport at all. These countries only require your driver's license and a copy of your birth certificate when coming from the US - but if you are entering by air, you will still need a passport here as well.

Luckily, getting your passport renewed is a much easier process than applying for a brand new passport. You no longer have to be present for renewal; although any of the 9,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States would be happy to help you renew your passport.

The easiest way to renew your passport is to do through the mail - a process which you can start online. If you navigate to the government's travel and passport web page, easily found in a web search, you can download any and all documents needed to renew your passport.

In order to renew your passport, it must have been issued in the past fifteen years. You also must have been at least 16 years of age when the passport was issued - while you could legally have had a minor status passport when it was issued, you may not have been younger than 16.

If you are renewing through the mail you have to make sure that your existing passport is not ruined, or destroyed beyond any and all recognition, because authenticity of the passport must be verified. If it is too mangled, you will need to apply for a new passport in person instead of through the mail.

If you have changed your name since you received your last passport, you unfortunately can't apply for renewal through the mail. All name changes, be they because of marriage or any other reason, must be processed in person at a passport acceptance facility in person.

Finally, you will need to send in your old passport, along with two identical 2"x 2" passport photos (which are obtainable at most places that advertise passport photo service) and the renewal documents. The fee for renewing your passport is somewhat less expensive.

Be prepared to wait for your new passport to arrive. The wait times are long - both for people who are applying for the first time for their passport and for those who are renewing their passports. Give yourself plenty of time before your trip to make sure that your passport arrives in time.
About the Author
Theodre Tenretni is with TravelYeti.com - where you can find a bed and breakfast retreat for your travels.
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