With a New Year comes another reminder to check the date on your passport.
As part of a recent promise by the federal government, the Department of State is continuing to make it easy for U.S. passport holders to renew their passports in 2023 by continuing to allow for online renewal.
The system is technically still in testing mode with the plan to roll it out fully sometime in 2023 (the Dept. of State has yet to release the date for a full launch at this time). The State Dept. could close the portal soon, but as of the beginning of January, it is temporarily open (and has been since Nov. 20, 2022) for those wanting to renew their passport online right now.
"We are committed to the President’s Executive Order on Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government. Delivering on this promise, we began testing a secure online passport renewal (OPR) option. OPR saves Americans time and effort, making it more convenient to renew their passports,” a State Department spokesperson told TMR this week.
“Based on feedback and learning from the limited releases, we continue to make improvements to optimize the user experience for renewing passports online. Full availability to the public for online passport renewal is targeted for 2023."
Holders are allowed to renew online if their passport is/was valid for 10 years, if they are at least 25 years old, if their most recent passport was issued over 9 years ago but less than 15 years ago from the date of submission, and if they are not traveling internationally for at least six weeks from the date of submission.
Applicants will have to pay for their passport using a credit or debit card and upload a digital passport photo along with their application (information on how to do that can be found here).
It’s also important to remember that an applicant’s most recent passport will be immediately invalidated once the new application is submitted.
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.
Processing times are the same as those for renewing by mail—the State Dept. says routine service is currently 6 to 9 weeks and expedited is 3 to 5 weeks. Applicants who have international travel within two weeks can still get it expedited at an agency if need be.