Update, 3/7: I got my new passport in just one week!
Update, 2/27: I applied on Friday to renew my passport online after being invited to do so! I used a passport photo app, though it took a few tries to get a picture that the application website accepted. The trick was getting a bright white background and not smiling too much. 😀
The renewal cost was $130, payable via credit card.
The application says you can’t have international travel plans within the next 3 weeks, though I didn’t notice anything saying that I can’t use my current passport for international travel.
Your passport has to be expiring within the next 12 months to renew online and only adults can renew their passport online. If your old passport has expired, it has to have expired within the past 5 years for you to renew online.
I opted for routine service and shipping (8-11 weeks), figuring that I can use my existing passport if travel needs arise in that time period. Expedited service (5-7 weeks) was offered for $60 and express return shipping (1-2 business days instead of 3-5 business days) was offered for $18.32.
Overall, the online process is excellent! I’ll update this post when my passport arrives.
Update, 12/23: I filled out this form as friends and family of government employees or contractors with an expiring passport for early access to the online passport renewal program. A day later I was emailed a link from the US State Department to create an account, with the caveat that it will be “several weeks” before online renewal is available.
It says that initially, online renewal will be available for those who have a passport expiring within 1 year.
It confirms that:
- You will get to keep your old passport. That solves a huge pain point where you weren’t able to travel internationally while your passport application is processed!
- You won’t need to mail in anything, photos will be uploaded online.
- They will still offer standard and expedited services.
- Online renewal will only be available for renewing passports for people 16 or older. Children still need to apply in person at a library, post office, or passport office.
- You must live and have a physical address in the US to apply for online renewal.
- Online renewal is only available for passport books, not passport cards.
- Online renewal is only available if you are not changing any personal information on your passport.
Don’t forget that passport rates are set to climb on Monday, so if you want to lock in lower rates, you’ll need to do it by mail or in person.
Originally posted on 12/14:
Yesterday, President Biden signed an “Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government.”
The fact sheet breaks down the highlights, one of which should delight just about everyone.
“Americans will be able to renew their passports securely online, saving time from having to wait and the effort and cost required to print, go to a post office, and use a paper check. This new online process will be done with safety and security.”
That’s huge. And hopefully with online processing the process will be sped up as well, as passport processing times have become ridiculous.
Online passport applications will begin on a limited basis this month before dramatically expanding in the coming months.
In other good news, the Executive Order also promises that tax filers will be able to schedule call-backs from the IRS. If you have ever needed to call the IRS, you know what a pain that can be.
Several other time savers are included in the Executive Order.
Always good to see the government trying to get more efficient!