Thursday, May 28, 2009


Renew US Passport by Mail

My US passport is expiring and I qualify to renew it by mail, so here is what I did.

1. Fill out form DS-82 online.
Then print it on your printer (Adobe Acrobat required).

2. Get picture taken
I used Costco for $5. They take your picture with a digital camera and print it on their one-hour photo equipment. The camera has a passport photo template on the LCD display, and the clerk showed it to me for approval.

Some US Post Offices will take your picture for $15.
Next time I might try Passport photos for free.

3. Mail in form
They suggest using a full sized envelope, so you don't have to bend the form, but I folded it in thirds and used a business sized envelope with two first class stamps. The photo is positioned so it won't get bent when the form is folded in thirds.

Also send in your old passport, two passport photos (one stapled to the form), and a check for $75.
They suggest you use a service with delivery confirmation, but I didn't bother because I figured I would have to do it all over anyway if it was lost.

Furthermore, I didn't find the hints page until I was almost done.

They return your old passport (with holes punched in it to invalidate it), so you get to keep all your old passport stamps.

4. Timeline
On May 20, 2009 I mailed it at the post office.
On May 27, 2009 the US Passport status page says it is currently being processed.
On May 28, 2009 they cashed my check (you agree they will scan and process your check electronically)
On June 18, 2009 the US Passport status page says it has finished processing and gave a Priority Mail delivery confirmation number.
On June 18, 2009 I received my new passport. 4 weeks and one day, as promised.
On June 21, 2009 I received my old passport in a separate mailing.

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