Aug 23, 2009

What You Need to Know About Renewing a Passport

There are many things to do when planning a trip overseas. Renewing a passport may be one of them. Renewal of your passport is easy to do these days. Renewal forms are available online and many people qualify for renewal by mail.

When to Renew: Passports for adults are valid for ten years provided that the original passport was received after you turned 16. Children under the age of 15 must renew their passports every five years. Damaged passports regardless must be renewed immediately. If you have gotten married or divorced, you will also need to renew your passport if your name has been changed.

Where to Renew: Application Agency's accept passport renewal applications. Many will find it easier to apply through the mail. Renewal forms are available at Travel.State.Gov website and include instructions. Additional forms, available online, are required if you are renewing your passport due to a name change.

What do I Need: A renewal application requires the same things that a first application did. Two identical photographs of just your head and shoulders, identification documents, and properly filled out forms. If you are going to an Application Agency to renew your passport do not sign the forms. Many find filling out the forms online then printing them is easier. The applications can be read and usually there are no delays due to illegible handwriting. If a name change is part of the renewal process your marriage certificate or divorce decree must be included.

How Long: Renewal of your passport will take between four and six weeks to be approved. Occasionally the agency falls behind especially if they have received many applications. Allowing yourself time for the unexpected will prevent last minute worries.

Renewal Denial: Criminal convictions occasionally prevent renewal of your passport. Application Agencies can provide you with the current list of convictions that will prevent renewal. If you owe the Internal Revenue Service back taxes your passport renewal will be denied. The Department of Health and Human Services has a file of people who owe more than $2,500 in back child support. Passports will be denied to anyone who owes back child support. If your passport renewal has been denied for back taxes or child support it can take an additional four to eight weeks to have your name removed from those lists.

Renewing your passport is something that is best done before you leave the country.

C.L. Hendricks has been a Jill-of-all-trades and become an expert in some. She has also traveled extensively and now writes about travel destinations around the world for Family Vacation Spots and Best Vacation Getaways

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