Anybody who intended to renew their U.S. passport online but hasn’t gotten around to it yet will need to wait a little longer. That’s because the passport online renewal service is currently closed to most people.
“On February 7 at 1 p.m. Eastern, we temporarily closed our online renewal service to new customers,” the U.S. Department of State explains. “We plan to reopen the portal to new customers in March.”
Importantly, if you created your MyTravelGov account to renew your passport online before 1 p.m. Eastern on February 7, you can still renew your passport online. However, if you created your account after that time and want to renew your passport before the online portal reopens in March, you’ll need to Renew by Mail.
Finally, if you lost your passport or it was stolen, or if your passport is damaged, was issued before you were 16 years old, was issued more than 15 years ago, or was issued when you had another name and you cannot document your name change, you cannot renew it online. Instead, you must apply for a passport in person.
Creation Of The Online Portal
Recognizing that millions of people needlessly lose time each year because the federal government still relies on paper-based systems and processes rather than leveraging technology, President Joe Biden signed an executive order in 2021 directing 17 federal agencies to streamline their processes. One of the government services affected: passport renewal.
“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,” according to the White House. “This new online process will be done with safety and security.”
An initial online passport renewal pilot program was launched in early 2022 for federal government employees and contractors. A second limited-time pilot was then opened in August for 25,000 members of the general public.
“Since last August, more than 500,000 customers have successfully submitted an application online,” the State Department explains. “Thank you for volunteering and testing our service during this limited release. We are reviewing survey feedback to continually improve the experience of renewing online.”
Online Passport Renewal Eligibility
According to the U.S. Department of State, 10 criteria must be met to determine if you want to renew your passport online, including the following. You can renew your passport online
- if your most recent passport is/was valid for 10 years
- you are 25 years old or older
- your current passport was issued more than 9 years ago but less than 15 years ago
The flip side of the coin is that there are also several reasons why you may not be eligible to renew your passport online, including
- if your passport is more than 15 years old
- if you need a new passport because yours has been lost, stolen, or damaged.
In those cases, you will need to apply for a passport in person.
The Online Passport Renewal Process
Once the online passport renewal portal reopens in March, the process of renewing a passport online is straightforward.
First, you’ll need to agree to the government’s Privacy Act Statement, then create a MyTravelGov account.
After creating your account, the next step will be to open an “account verification” email sent from the state department and click the hyperlink to activate your MyTravelGov account.
Keep in mind that it may take up to 24 hours for the State Department to register your account.
You will then be able to log in to your account and click the “Renew Passport” button to begin your application.
If you have technical difficulties or need help, you can send the State Department an email with your support questions. You can also call the Help Desk for technical support Mondays through Fridays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern. That phone number is (855) 865-7750.
After that, you’ll need to select either routine or expedited processing, enter your personal information, and upload a digital photo.
How To Pay For Online Passport Renewal
As you’d expect, you’ll need to use a credit card, debit card, or Automated Clearing House payment to transfer funds from your bank account to pay the online passport renewal fees. Payment will be completed via the Pay.Gov secure portal, which is encrypted to ensure your personal and payment information is protected.
The fee for an adult passport book is $130. The fee for an adult passport card, which is only valid for travel by land and sea to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean is $30. The fee for an adult passport book and card is $160.
You can learn more about other passport renewal fees on the State Department’s passport fees webpage.
For more about passports and traveling, be sure to read: