The U.S. State Department this week temporarily opened its online renewal service to new customers yet again.
The program is part of a pilot program that the State Dept. hopes will prove efficient enough to allow all Americans to renew passports online starting sometime next year. That program started earlier in 2022 with federal employees and contractors and was then opened in August with 25,000 volunteers on a first-come, first-served basis.
The goal of the pilot programs was to help test the functionality and ensure the online passport renewal system operates as designed, a spokesperson told TMR at the time.
That program is now open yet again for public applicants, but it is not expected to be open for an extended period of time, so applicants who want to renew online should do so as soon as possible.
The current program requires applicants to meet a specific set of criteria, including that they are at least 25 years old, that their most recent passport was valid for 10 years, and their old passport was issued between 9 and 15 years ago.
If travelers qualify, they can start the process by first creating a MyTravelGov account and waiting for approval (typically takes up to 4 hours) before filling out the application, which includes uploading a photo and paying for the renewal online. Travelers can track their progress through a link while they waited for renewal, which the State Department said typically took as long as renewing normally.
Once the trials are wrapped up, the goal will then be to execute the program on a larger scale. When it comes to the complete program’s roll-out, “we anticipate a full public launch of the online passport renewal option early next year,” the spokesperson told TMR.