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Need some input about renewing my U.S. Passport

Need some input about renewing my U.S. Passport

Jan 10th, 2010, 12:57 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 114
Need some input about renewing my U.S. Passport

Hey Guys
I'm tentatively planning a 2 week trip to Asia in March while I have some slow time at work. My Passport currently expires March 13th, which would be Day 5 of the trip, so I need to get it renewed beforehand.

Just wondering what is the best and most efficient way to get it renewed with about 8 weeks to go before I plan to leave.

Should I just drop by my Post Office, which accepts the application, and turn in all the needed there? Would it make it back in time?

Or should I try one of those internet services that can expedite the process? If so, which ones would any of you recommend?

Right now, I'm just waiting for my boss to officially sign off on my vacation and I will move forward with my plans.
DonJ1973 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 12:59 AM
  #2  
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Posts: 114
Also, I haven't done the renewal process since I 1st got my passport 10 years ago. What are some of the costs/fees I can expect?
DonJ1973 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 04:37 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 5,640
I assume you are asking about a US Passport. If so, the Passport office currently estimates a turnaround time of 4 to 6 weeks for "Routine" renewal and 2 to 3 weeks for "Expedited" service - actual times may be different.

You can find answeres to all your questions, including costs, etc. here:

http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
RoamsAround is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 04:41 AM
  #4  
 
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Here are the current estimated wait times:

http://travel.state.gov/passport/get...sing_1740.html

According to this, the normal processing should be fine, but the expedite option might help you sleep easier. Given the amount of time you have, there is no reason to use a 3rd party service.

Renewals are currently $75, or $95 if you want the book + the card. The expedite option is an extra $60 and the fee if you want your passport overnighted is $14.95.

You can do everything via mail - see the info on the site I linked above.
travelgourmet is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 05:03 AM
  #5  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,404
Yep - you can do it all from home, including printing out a picture on photo paper then dropping it in the mail. Since you need to send in your old passport it's recommended you use some sort of delivery confirmation service from the USPS - i.e. the fluorescent green labels at the post office. QED.

I sent one in last week and will track how long it takes.
J62 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 10:33 AM
  #6  
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Thanks and Yes this is for a U.S. Passport.

I have another question. It says if I wanted to renew this by mail, I need to send in my old passport. However, it says the passport cannot be damaged.

A few months ago, some ink spilled on about 5 pages of the passport (with all the stamps). The part with my picture and name is undamaged, but has a few drops on it. Would this be considered "damaged?"

I kind of don't really want to send the old passport in because I would like to keep my old country stamps as a memory of my previous trips. So would my best bet be just taking it to a post office and renewing it that way?
DonJ1973 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 10:42 AM
  #7  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,404
You get your old passport back so no worries about having a souvenir.

The post office doesn't renew your passport - they simply process the paperwork and send it in to the US passport office - the same address you'll send it to self service. Perhaps they can tell you if the damage is a problem, but besides that really nothing more for a renewal.

For newly issued passports they act as a storefront & help verify identity and screen applications for the right supporting paperwork.
J62 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 11:06 AM
  #8  
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Thanks J62. I will go ahead and mail it in and probably expedite it. Seems like the most efficient way to get this done without using a 3rd Party.
DonJ1973 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 11:45 AM
  #9  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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I'm not sure why you say a 3rd party is needed since you're not traveling until March.

If you need a passport back in just a day or 2 and don't have time to visit a passport office in person then sure, a 3rd party is the most efficient way to go. No question.

Since you don't need the passport in less than 2 weeks you just need to pay the extra $60 and mark the envelope "EXPEDITE"

http://travel.state.gov/passport/for.../ds82_843.html
J62 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 04:42 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 764
I just renewed mine. It expires in February so I meant to send it in around Thanksgiving but never got around to it. I did the whole process at the post office in boston - photo, filled out application and mailed it in - on the Tuesday after Christmas 12/29. I don't have any overseas trips planned so I took my changes and didn't use the expedited services, just regular renewal of an existing passport. Last Wednesday, 1/6 my old passport showed up in the mail with a hole punched through it and on Friday, 1/8, my new one arrived. Eight business days door to door for regular service - quite impressive! Guess no big demand these days.
Sally30 is offline  
Jan 10th, 2010, 05:00 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Personally, I would expedite it as you are going to start running into the spring break/cruise crowd who will also be sending their stuff in for their March and April trips. My husband just renewed his through the mail without expedite service and it took almost 5 weeks through the mail-end of October to December.
dutyfree is offline  
Jan 11th, 2010, 02:02 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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For future info - even if passport expired 2 days after your trip, you would still need a new one - many countries require you to have 3 months left on passport to even accept it.

Are you going to need a visa anywhere you are travelling? If so, you will need your passport to get a visa - and if that involves mailing it, you could have a time crunch that requires you to expedite everything.
gail is offline  
Jan 12th, 2010, 11:09 AM
  #13  
 
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Personally, I would pay the expediting fee and send it Express Mail, with an included self-addressed Express Mail return to you.

Make note of the Express Mail numbers so you can track the mail.

Nothing worse than worrying about getting your passport back in time for your trip.
Placename is offline  
Jan 15th, 2010, 12:28 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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One data point on current processing time... We mailed mr_go's passport on January 2 for regular processing and received the new one today.
ms_go is offline  
Jan 16th, 2010, 06:15 AM
  #15  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Another data point - nearly identical to mr_go.

Sent ours out by US Mail 1/4, arrived at the passport office 1/7 and it was shipped back to us on 1/15. Total processing time for regular service renewal = 8 days. If I get it back on Tue that will be 2 weeks total time door to door, by snail mail.

Save the extra $60 and any additional FedEx or 3rd party fee.
J62 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2010, 02:12 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Another data point... took total about 2 weeks without expedited service. But I agree with the earlier point that it will only be getting longer as people get ready for spring travel.


one question:

Why wait until your boss signs off on your trip ? Your passport expires regardless of his action, so why not get it renewed now ?
surfmom is offline  
Jan 18th, 2010, 03:18 AM
  #17  
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Sent in the passport for renewal last week. I sent it by Priority Mail with Signature verification and already received an e-mail that they received it.

I spent $149.96 total. 75 for the renewal, 60 for the expedite and the $14.96 for overnight.

Boss already signed off on the trip last week, so I'm good to go.
DonJ1973 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2010, 06:47 PM
  #18  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Ours arrived back in the mail today - 2 weeks from the time I dropped it off at the post offic. Regular old US mail, regular passport renewal service.
J62 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 05:22 PM
  #19  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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FYI - We did NOT get our old passport back. Not many stamps in it anyway, but we do like to hold on to these as souvenirs regardless.
J62 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2010, 05:50 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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J62, mr_go's old passport came back yesterday, a couple of days after the new passport--so there's hope for you, I think.
ms_go is offline  

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