The U.S. Department of State has launched a pilot program for U.S. nationals to renew their passports online
The U.S. Department of State has launched a pilot program for U.S. nationals to renew their passports online. The pilot program involves processing batches of passports to meet quotas with the renewal portal opening and closing accordingly. As of the time of writing, the portal was open for new customers beginning on 20 November. For information on the program and to access the renewal portal, visit the pilot program webpage.
In order to renew a passport online, you must meet certain criteria. You must be 25 or older with a passport that is between nine and 15 years old, you do not have any significant changes to your personal information, you live in the U.S. and applying for a regular passport, you possess your current passport, which is not damaged, and you are not traveling internationally for at least six weeks.
In addition to applying online instead of by mail, the differences with the online process include uploading a digit photo (which can be taken by a family member or friend but must still meet certain requirements—selfies will not do) and paying by credit card instead of by check. Since you are not mailing an application with your old passport, the Department of State will simply void your current passport.
In October, my spouse and I used the online service to renew her passport and were very pleased with the process. Within several hours of submitting her application, she received an email confirming her submission. The program states that passports will be processed within seven to eight weeks for standard processing and four to six weeks for expedited processing. We chose expedited processing, and she received her new passport within three weeks. All in all, it was an easy process and didn’t involve getting a traditional passport photo taken or printing and mailing a hardcopy application.