US Temporarily Reopens Online Passport Renewal Pilot Program

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The US Department of State has announced the temporary reopening of the online portal for renewing American passports for a third pilot scheme since the electronic system was rolled out.

“We are temporarily opening our online renewal service to new customers beginning October 11,” according to the State Department website. “Thank you for volunteering and testing our system during this pilot program.”

The online passport renewal pilot program was originally unveiled in August 2022, allowing 25,000 applicants to use the system on a first-come, first-served basis. The slots available filled up quickly, leading to the launch of 2 subsequent pilot schemes in September and October.

The system is a handy resource for those who need to have a valid passport to meet the visa requirements for US citizens before a trip to another country, and are unable to travel to a State Department Office to renew their document.

US Online Passport Renewal Pilot Program

Conditions for Renewing a US Passport Online

If a US citizen wishes to renew their passport using the online pilot program, they first have to meet the following requirements: 

  • Be 25 years of age or older
  • The most recent passport must have been valid for 10 years, but be no more than 15 years old
  • The passport must already be expired or set to expire within 1 year
  • The applicant must be in possession of their passport – it cannot be lost or stolen
  • Only standard passports can be renewed online, not diplomatic, official, or service passports
  • The passport holder must be resident in a US state or territory
  • Name, gender, or date and place of birth cannot be changed from the previous document

Additionally, those who are planning to travel within 6 weeks of submitting their application are not eligible to use the online passport renewal system.

This is because the processing time for the service is the same as passport renewal by mail,  8-11 weeks for routine processing and 5-7 weeks for an expedited service.

How to Renew an American Passport Through the Online System

In order to use the online renewal service, US citizens need to access the State Department website and create a MyTravelGov account

They need to wait 4 hours until the account is validated, and they can then:

  • Log in and select the “Renew Passport” option
  • Fill out the application form
  • Upload a digital passport photo in JPEG format
  • Pay the passport renewal fee using either a credit or debit card or an ACH (Automated Clearing House) payment transfer

An online US passport renewal costs the same as the in-person or mailing options: $130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, or $160 for both.

Those considering using this system should keep in mind that their current passport will be immediately canceled and invalidated and they will not be able to use it for international travel once they submit a renewal request.

If an applicant is not selected for the October online pilot scheme, they have the option to use the mailing or in-person services.

Additionally, they can simply wait until November, when the US government plans to roll out another testing phase of the platform before unveiling it to the greater general public next year.

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