Tips for renewing or applying for a passport during the coronavirus pandemic

By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva

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Have you checked your passport lately? You really should if you expect to travel later this year. In order to get on a ship or into a foreign country you must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after you cruise.

Apply by mail

During the pandemic the best way to update your documents or get a new one is by mail. Here’s how it works. Apply for routine service on line. Expect to receive a passport in 10-12 weeks*. You can also pay a $60 fee to expedite  return  in 4-6 weeks.

And yes there are passport fees.  Expect to shell out  $110 application fee and $35 execution charge for a new adult passport. book:  Passport Cards (for adults age 16 and older command a $30 charge plus a $35  execution fee.

To renew a passport you must return your old one along with on photo.  You will get your old passport back eventually. To avoid processing delays, be sure your photo meets all the photo requirements.

You should staple the photo to the application with four staples vertically in the corners as close to the outer edges as possible. Do not bend the photo. And do not wear eyeglasses unless you have a note from your doctor that you can include with your application.

Acceptable facilities

Most acceptance facilities such as post offices, clerks of court, and libraries are open and accepting passport applications. Applying by mail is a safe, contactless option for certain services.

If you plan to accelerate your passport application due to upcoming travel plans, send your application using USPS’ Priority Mail Express.

Renewals

When renewing on line the Form Filler will select the correct form for you based on the information you input. It may generate a different form from what you expect.

You will have to provide a Social Security number, if you have been issued one, in accordance with 22 U.S.C. 2714a and 22 C.F.R 51.60(f). For more information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Applying in person

If you need to apply in person, go to an acceptance facility. Children under age 16, all first-time applicants, and applicants who have lost their passport or had their passport stolen must apply in-person. These locations include post offices, clerks of court, libraries, and local government offices. Contact your local acceptance facility to confirm it is open before you apply. Some locations may require appointments to enable social distancing. If you want to apply at a post office, make an appointment on the USPS.com website.

When you apply at an acceptance facility, you can select routine service (receive your passport in 10-12 weeks) or expedited service (receive your passport in 4-6 weeks). Expedited service costs an additional $60 per application.

Be warned there are  major delays in receiving passport applications due to unprecedented mail volume and  COVID-19 impacts on the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). If you plan to expedite your passport application due to upcoming travel plans, we recommend that you ask the acceptance facility to send your application using USPS’ Priority Mail Express.

 

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