When traveling abroad for work or pleasure, you will need a valid U.S. passport. According to USA.gov, the processing time for routine service takes about 4-6 weeks by mail or in person. That timeline may increase, however, based on the number of applications. Ensure you get a new passport in time for your next trip by following these rules for fast passport renewals without delay:
- Apply in a Timely Manner – Be aware of when your passport expires, especially if you have upcoming travel plans. Some destinations require six months of passport validity for you to enter the country. Additionally, you may need to renew your passport if you have had a significant change in appearance since your last trip. This includes facial surgery or trauma, addition or removal of large/numerous facial piercings or tattoos, significant weight loss or weight gain, etc.
- Remove Your Glasses – Photos that do not meet State Department requirements are the main reason applications are delayed. New passport rules specify that glasses are no longer allowed in your photo. This also applies to sunglasses. Photos should have proper lighting and a white or off-white background. Submitting your passport photo is a size other than 2 x 2 inches will hold up the process.
- Smile, but Don’t Overdo It – You can smile in your photo, but not too big. Passport rules specify that your face can have a neutral expression or a natural smile, with both eyes open to realistically depict how you look. More rules on your passport photo can be found here.
- Pay the Right Fee – All first-time passport applicants, all individuals under 16, and any adult that is renewing a passport that is over 15 years old will see a $10 increase in their fee. If you are using the standard adult renewal form by mail, DS-82, this rule does not apply to you. Renewing via mail requires payment by check or money order. Sending cash or credit card details will take your application off the standard process track. Here are more details on fee amounts.
- Include all Supporting Documents – Your application renewal may require sending in supporting documents such as citizenship evidence or a personal signed statement. A signed statement is usually required for those who wear religious attire that could otherwise deem your photo invalid. Individuals who are unable to remove their glasses for medical reasons can submit a note from their doctor for an exception.
- Apply for Expedited Service – For life-or-death emergencies, travels within two weeks, or travels within four weeks, you may apply for expedited service. You will need to submit supporting documents, pay an additional service fee, and possibly visit to a passport center. Follow these guidelines if your situation calls for expedited service.
YMT Vacations offers a variety of escorted tours across the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Before booking your next international vacation with us, do a quick check to confirm the expiry date of your passport to ensure you have enough time to get a renewal. If you plan a last minute trip and need a renewal as soon as possible, utilize the expedited processing option to take your trip without any problems.