Americans Will Soon Be Able to Renew Passports Online
Renewing a US passport is never a quick and easy process. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, wait times were often longer than 4 months. The US Department of State now says it has reduced the backlog of about 2 million applications, but the it still estimates that it takes eight to 11 weeks to renew a passport.
Those timetables only include processing, not the time it takes mailing our application in and receiving your passport after that. Now a new program to renew passports online may shorten that wait time and could certainly make the process much easier. This is a pilot program that was first announced last year, and was already tested in early August with 25,000 open slots that were filled in a few days.
As part of a recent promise by the federal government, all Americans will be able to renew their passports online as soon as next year, according to recent news from the U.S Department of State. The first batch of online applications helped test the functionality and ensure the online passport renewal system operates as designed. The agency plans to accept another 25,000 applications in September, and then roll out the program more widely in 2023.
The goal is now to execute the program on a larger scale. So if you want to renew online, you should keep an eye out on the passport renewal website in order to participate in September pilot program.
How it Works
To join the pilot program for online passport renewal in September, you’ll need to be ready with a MyTravelGov account and be aware of all the eligibility criteria. The program required applicants to meet a specific set of requirements, including that they are at least 25 years old, that their most recent passport was valid for 10 years, and their old passport was issued between 9 and 15 years ago.
After creating a MyTravelGov account and wait for approval, a message on the home page will provide you with an option to “Renew Passport,” after the pilot program goes live again in September. You then need to fill out the application, which includes uploading a photo and paying for the renewal online. Travelers could then track their progress through a link while they waited for renewal, which the State Department said typically took as long as renewing normally.
There are also some additional caveats:
- You cannot change your name, gender, or date or place of birth
- You can only renew online for tourist passports, not special issuance
- You must live in the US
- You must be able to pay your passport fees by credit card, debit card or electronic ACH bank transfer
- You must be able to upload an acceptable digital passport photo
- You should be aware that your existing passport will immediately become invalid