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JUST DO IT ALREADY. If you clicked this post, you probably have a U.S. Passport that is set to expire at some point in the near future and you’ve likely given yourself a million reminders to fill out that renewal paperwork. But it just keeps getting delayed, doesn’t it?

Passport

We get it. The idea of filling out paperwork, mailing in documents, etc. might just be too much to handle right now. It’d be more fun to watch Inside Out 2 or grab some Starbucks instead, right? But what if we told you that renewing your passport could be a few CLICKS away with a simpler process? It might just be, but you’ll need to know all the rules!

Here’s the main thing you need to know — Some eligible U.S. citizens can renew their passports online now through a beta system but it’s only available for a limited amount of hours each day during the beta release! They are preparing for a full launch of the updated online passport renewal system at some point in the future but it’s not clear when, so you’ll want to act now (if you’re eligible).

Back in 2022, the U.S. Department of State tested out a pilot program for renewing your passport online that was also very limited. Now it seems like the testing is back and it could be a GAME-CHANGER.

Get Ready to Travel

Think of the convenience — no need to mail in your documents, just fill out all of the necessary things online! But you do need to meet certain requirements to be eligible for this service, it’s all in a beta test for now (i.e. not in final form), AND only a limited amount of applications are allowed each day. (A.k.a. there are some caveats.)

So how does it work? Let’s go through it.

First: Make sure you meet the requirements

To renew your passport online, you need to meet a multitude of requirements including that your passport is or was valid for 10 years and you’re age 25 or older, you’re not changing your name, you’re not traveling internationally for at least 8 weeks from the date you submit your application, and more.

Check out the full list of requirements below:

©U.S. Department of State

If you don’t meet those requirements, you may be able to renew by mail or at a passport agency, so just keep that in mind.

Second: Make your account

Once you’ve confirmed that you meet the requirements, the next step is to make an account. You’ll visit the MyTravelGov homepage, click “sign in” (which will take you to Login.gov), and then sign in (if you already have an account) or create an account.

You can check out the video below about creating your account.



Third: Start your application

After creating your account, you’ll want to click on the “Renew Your Passport” button on the home page to start your application.

Here’s where things can get a little tricky, so BE WARNED. The State Department cautions that during the next several months they’ll be limiting the number of daily online passport renewal applications that can be done.

According to the State Department’s website, “The system will open for a limited midday eastern time window each day, and will close once we reach our limit for the day.  If we have reached the daily limit, you will need to wait to start your application.”

Planning a Trip?

So, they warn, “You may not be able to start your application on the day of your choice.” The state advises: “If you are unable to start your application, try again on another day.”

The good news is you can save your application online and finish it at a later date if you need to. You actually have 30 days to complete your application once you start it. BUT if you don’t finish it within those 30 days, you’ll need to start over, so keep that in mind.

Orlando International Airport

Again, it appears this system will be in place for the next few months while they test things out and “prepare for a full launch of the updated online passport renewal system” so know this going in.

Fourth: Enter the info about your passport

At this point, the U.S. Department of State starts to check the passport you’re renewing against their records to see if you can renew online. So, what you’ll need to do is enter the information as it was printed on the passport you’re renewing. Remember that the system is in a beta test form, so they warn that they might experience “temporary, technical issues.”  If for some reason it gives you an error and you believe you should be able to renew online, try entering your information again.

According to their website, “If you are not eligible to renew online, the application will give you a list of reasons. Double check your information before re-entering it.”

Airplane

A few things to keep in mind: make sure your most recent passport was valid for 10 years, and double-check the spelling of your name carefully. See more about these things below.

©U.S. Department of State

Also, make sure you’re trying to renew something that is eligible. Specifically, you can renew passport books and passport cards online.

©U.S. Department of State

You can check out the video below for more info about entering the information from your previous passport.



Fifth: Enter your travel plans

If you are traveling internationally in less than 8 weeks, you cannot renew online, so be sure to look at your upcoming travel plans carefully.

If you need your passport in 3-8 weeks, you can get expedited service and renew by mail. If you’re on a tighter schedule and need your passport in LESS than 3 weeks, you’ll need to make an appointment to renew your passport in person (you can do this at a passport agency or center).

City at night

If you live in Orlando (or other select cities) there might be some good news for you in the future when it comes to renewing your passport in person (should you need to do that). According to a U.S. Department of State press release, the U.S. will be opening 6 NEW passport agencies in the future. These new offices will be located in Salt Lake City, UT; Kansas City, MO; Orlando, FL; Charlotte, NC; San Antonio, TX; and Cincinnati, OH.

What’s great about these spots is they’ll provide “service to travelers with urgent travel needs.” According to WESH 2 News, U.S. congressman Maxwell Frost has said the Orlando office might take up to a year to be created and open, but he’s hoping they can move things faster (if possible). So, that won’t help you right now but could help in the future.

Six: Upload a digital photo

The next step in the online renewal process is to upload a digital photo. This must be “an original, digital photo in .JPEG file format.” No selfies are allowed, so you’ll need to get the help of a friend or family member to take your photo. And they warn you NOT to scan the photo or take a photo of an already printed photo.

There is an entire webpage dedicated to getting the right photo, and you can watch the video below to learn more.



Seven: Sign and pay

Finally, it’s time to pay the passport fees. You’ll do this through pay.gov. You can use a credit or debit card, or you can use an ACH (Automated Clearing House payment) to transfer funds from your bank account. Just be aware that “processing an ACH payment may take longer than a credit or debit card.”

You’ll get a few different emails about the status of your payment, so be on the lookout for that and remember to check your spam or junk folders (just in case).



Once you’re done with the application you DO need to keep the passport you’re renewing on hand. Do NOT mail it to the Department of State or try to use it to travel (because they’ll cancel it).

Eight: Enroll in email updates

Once you pay for the passport you’ll get an email confirming payment is pending and then you’ll get another email once they confirm that they’ve received the payment. One week after you apply, it’s suggested that you go to the “Online Passport Status System to enroll in more email updates about the status of your application.” Once you do this, you’ll get notifications about when the renewal application is in process and approved, and when your passport is being sent. You’ll also get notifications if they need more information to process your application.



And there you have it — a detailed look at this process! Again, this will only be available for limited quantities each day so keep that in mind and take advantage while you can (or be on the lookout for a full launch!).

We’re keeping an eye out for big travel news that could impact your future trips so stay tuned for updates.

In the meantime, click here to read about travel scams and how they’re up by 900%!!

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WE KNOW DISNEY.
YOU CAN, TOO.

Oh boy, planning a Disney trip can be quite the adventure, and we totally get it! But fear not, dear friends, we compiled EVERYTHING you need (and the things to avoid!) to plan the ULTIMATE Disney vacation.

Whether you’re a rookie or a seasoned pro, our insider tips and tricks will have you exploring the parks like never before. So come along with us, and get planning your most magical vacation ever!

Have you tried renewing your passport online? Tell us about your experience!

The post Renewing Your U.S. Passport Just Got EASIER – But There’s a Catch first appeared on the disney food blog.