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US passport can now be renewed online: how to do it

Now Americans can quickly, safely and conveniently renew their passports online. The pilot program is currently open to the first 25 applicants and will be expanded to the rest of the country later this year. Writes about it Lonely Planet.

Photo: IStock

No more mailing your passport and waiting nervously for it to arrive at the US Department of State. Thanks to a new executive order, Americans who need to renew their passport can do so online.

How to apply online for a passport renewal

The pilot program went live this month for the first 25 applicants on a first-come, first-served basis. To apply, you must first create and activate an account MyTravelGov. People must be at least 25 years of age and have a renewable passport. This is one that was issued more than nine years ago, but less than 15 years ago (passport issued between 2007 and 2013), which expires within one year or has already expired. Their holders must have their passport with them and must not previously report it as lost or stolen.

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The service will allow applicants to upload a digital passport photo and pay for the service with a credit/debit card or ACH (Automated Clearing House) payment. Both passport books and cards can be renewed online at the same time.

How long does online processing take

The service is still in testing phase and the processing time is about the same as those passports that are subject to renewal by mail, which is eight to 11 weeks. Applying online is not recommended if you are traveling abroad in less than five weeks.

When will the online passport renewal service be fully operational?

If you miss the pilot program, you may have to use regular mail.

While the executive order directs the State Department to "develop and provide a new online passport renewal experience that doesn't require the mailing of any physical documents," it will be a few more weeks before it is released to the general public.

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A State Department spokesman said the pilot program will help test the system and make sure everything works as intended. It plans to roll out a secure online service to the general public in the fall of 2022.

Why is the service introduced

On December 13, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order requiring several government agencies to improve their customer experience in order to save time.

"Every interaction between the federal government and the public, whether it's a passport renewal or a request for an application status update, must be seen as an opportunity for the government to save an individual's time and provide the level of service that the public expects and deserves," the executive order says.

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In the U.S. online US passport обновление
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