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Good News for Globetrotters: U.S. Passports Can Be Renewed Online

A woman smiling in an airport with her suitcase and passport.

Image source: Getty Images

If you’re a frequent international traveler, or even if you haven’t left the U.S. in a few years but would like to take another vacation abroad sometime soon, you need to know about how to renew a U.S. passport. If you don’t have an up-to-date, valid passport, you can be denied entry to other countries or even stopped from boarding the plane to leave America.

Good news: Renewing a passport just got easier for Americans. Some U.S. passport holders can now renew online.

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Let’s look at the latest details to see if you can renew your U.S. passport online, and what this might mean for your next international vacation.

Why you need to renew your passport

Passports for adults (age 16 and over) are good for 10 years, and passports for children (age 15 and younger) expire after five years. Want to keep globetrotting? Want to keep enjoying the thrills of international travel without having to cancel your trip or get detained by border police? Make a plan to renew your passport.

And don’t wait for the last minute — some other countries require you to have a passport that is valid for six months beyond the dates of your trip. This can make it even more urgent to renew your passport well in advance of your next international trip.

If it’s been a few years since your last international vacation, you might want to keep an eye on the expiration date for your passport — and check out this new online passport renewal system.

How to renew U.S. passports online: Beta release

As of June 2024, the U.S. State Department is doing a beta release of a new online system for updating passports. But not every passport holder can use this new online system, and only a certain number of passports can be renewed online per day because of limited availability of the beta release.

The full requirements for who is eligible to use the new online passport renewal system are somewhat complicated. But here are a few highlights:

  • For now, as of July 5, 2024, the online renewal service is only open to people ages 25 and older who are renewing passports that were (or are) valid for 10 years.
  • You can only renew online if you are renewing a passport that was issued between 2009 and 2015, or that was issued more than nine years but less than 15 years from the date of your passport renewal application.
  • Don’t use the online service if you’re traveling internationally within eight weeks. Such a short time frame requires expedited service, and the online system only provides “routine service,” which likely won’t be fast enough for your travel dates. If you need your new passport sooner, consider renewing by mail or in-person.
  • You can’t use the online service to make any changes to the name, gender, date of birth, or place of birth listed on your passport.
  • You must live in the United States.
  • You must upload a digital passport photo.
  • You must be able to pay for your passport renewal fee with a credit card or debit card.

If you’re not eligible for the new online passport renewal system or just don’t want to wait for an open spot in the beta release, don’t worry — you can renew your passport by mail or in-person at a passport agency instead.

Why online passport renewal is good news

Being able to get on a plane and cross international borders is one of the most exciting parts of travel. Having a valid U.S. passport in your pocket gives you the freedom to see other countries and experience other cultures. It’s worth paying the fees to keep your passport updated so you don’t have to worry about trip delays.

Until now, U.S. passports could only be renewed by mail or in-person at passport agencies and government offices. Being able to use online tools to renew passports may make the process easier and faster with less paperwork and less time spent checking the mailbox.

Every experienced international traveler is going to be happy to hear about this new online system for renewing passports — and will be eager to see if their passport qualifies for online renewal.

Bottom line

Before you plan your next international trip, make sure your passport is up to date. If you’re due to renew your passport in 2024, you might qualify to renew it online. Just like the best travel rewards credit cards can help you have a more comfortable trip, online passport renewal may give you an easier, more streamlined experience getting a new passport for global travels.

Read the full details and online passport renewal requirements at the U.S. State Department website.

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