Americans Can Renew Their Passports Online Once Again

After halting the service for more than a year, Americans will be able to renew their passports online once again, said the US State Department on Wednesday. Keep in mind that this service is not available for all citizens, restrictions apply.

The program is not fully operational so the government can only accept a limited number of applications per day from selected individuals. When the threshold is met, the online passport renewal option (OPR) portal will close until the next afternoon.

“We appreciate your patience while we test our system and prepare for a full launch of the updated online passport renewal system.” The portal is available for “a limited midday Eastern time window each day and will close once we reach our limit for the day,” the State Department said. 

As we mentioned before, not all Americans are eligible to take advantage of this option.

Citizens must have had their passports for at least 10 years and be older than 25.

These documents must also be issued less than 15 years from the date of application. In addition, passport holders must live on US soil.

Other important requirements include not requesting a change of name, gender, date or place of birth.

Payments must be made through a credit or debit card or an ACH (automated clearing house). 

Americans must have their current passports with them and those must not be damaged.

Finally, website visitors should be able to upload their digital passport photos in a JPEG file.

This service is only available for routine passport renewals. Expedited services are not available yet.

Deciding to renew your passport online does not mean the process will be faster. The only benefit is that you’ll skip the hassle of applying by mail, said the agency.

For this reason, you must not book international tickets for at least eight weeks from the date of application since your passport may not be ready before that. Travelers can still renew their passports by mail.

It is expected that once the system is fully operational, over five million Americans will be able to renew their passports online. 

As of today, processing times by mail take up to eight weeks. Citizens have the option to reduce this wait time to three weeks by paying a $60 fee.

Officials haven’t revealed when this beta rollout will become a permanent option for Americans in need of renewing their passports.

For further information, check out the State Department’s step-by-step process.