As an international student wishing to experience the United States, whether it be attending top U.S. universities or fulfilling your dietetic internship, your passport is arguably one of the most important documents in your possession. That said, an expiring passport should be out of the question. But if this is your first time traveling alone, it is understandable that you have no idea how to renew your passport in the United States.
The good news is that everyone has to start somewhere, so it is completely okay to be a little clueless about how things work on your first trip. Luckily, you have come to the right place! This post will help you renew your passport effortlessly like a pro. We have included a comprehensive all-you-need-to-know guide to answer your process-related questions, so keep reading.
How Long is a United States Passport Valid for?
Before going straight to the main issue, it is important to first understand how long your United States passport will be good for. The thing is that it depends on when you apply for the document. For instance, your passport is valid for 10 years if you request it at the age of 16 or older. On the contrary, your passport is valid for 5 years if you file it when you are under the age of 16. Unfortunately, whenever you renew your passport after this, it will still be good for 5 years only, and vice versa.
Cannot remember your Issue Date? Fret not; checking the duration of your passport is as easy as pie. You can find it on the data page of your passport. Now you may be wondering when is the best time to renew your passport. The golden rule is to keep it updated when it has been valid for 3 or 4 months or when it has a validity of less than 9 or 8 months.
With this, you will have ample time to properly arrange for your passport renewal before your current one actually expires.
How to Renew Passport in the United States?
Suppose your passport will expire in less than a year. As we mentioned earlier, this is the time for you to plan to extend the validity of your passport. Having a current passport is especially crucial if you are an F-1 or J-1 student as an invalid document can affect your stay and immigration status.
Renewing Your Passport through a Local Embassy or Consulate
First, you can get your passport renewed in the United States in person at a local embassy or consulate. There are many foreign consular offices spread across the country. To get specific instructions on renewing your passport or passport renewal requirements, find the webpage of your home country’s embassy here. The list will help you locate the offices of your home country’s diplomatic mission in seconds.
Usually, embassies and consulates operate by appointment only. So make sure you make the renew-passport appointment before actually going to the office.
Alternatively, you can visit agencies that cater specifically to this purpose in your nearest city. If you live in New York City, for instance, you can search for passport renewal NYC agencies online. You can also search for other agents on the internet.
Renewing Your Passport by Mail
Secondly, you can opt to extend the expiration date of your passport by mail. However, you must ensure that you can satisfy all five passport renewal requirements for this method:
- You have your passport to submit with your application.
- Your passport is in good condition or with normal wear and tear.
- You applied for your passport when you were 16 or older.
- Your passport was first notarized within the last 15 years.
- You issued your passport in your current name.
While this method is quick and easy, it only applies to passport books. Again, check with the embassy or consulate of your home country regarding the documents you need to submit. However, you will be required to submit these documents in most cases:
- Application form to renew your passport, which is downloadable here
- Passport photo
- Renewal application fees
- Your current passport
- Marriage certificate or a court order of your name change in case your name has changed
Passport Renewal for Minors
If you are a minor, you will need your parents’ consent to extend the validity of your passport. Except for some 16- and 17-year-olds, all children must apply for their passport renewal in person at the acceptance facility.
In other words, both their parents must accompany them when applying. In cases where one parent is unable to go, the other parent must submit a statement of consent or proof of why the absent parent is not there.
Meanwhile, 16- and 17-year-olds can renew their passports by mail if they were made when they were 16 or older. They can apply for passport renewal themselves if they have an identification document (ID) and provide a signed statement from one of the legal parents. The procedures are the same as described in the previous section.
How Long Does It Take to Renew a Passport?
Renewing a passport will not consume much time, but that does not mean that you can put it off until the last minute. Generally, the processing time will take up to 11 weeks. If you choose the expedited route that costs $60, you can expect to wait between 5 to 7 weeks. On the other hand, passport renewal by mail usually takes between 4 to 6 weeks.
Cost of Renewing Passports
According to the State Department, as of December 27, 2021, you will have to pay $130 to get your passport renewed. For minors, the fee is $135.
Now that you have an idea of how to renew passport in the United States, time to look at the opportunities that will enrich your experience while living abroad. There are many ways to make the most of your stay. For starters, you can sign up for student exchange programs to broaden your horizons by living together with people from all walks of life.
Or, if you are thinking of enrolling in one of the Ivy league schools, we recommend applying to these generous scholarships in the United States to help you settle in and graduate without breaking your bank.