Update a reader just informed me: “Just checked and the site says they’ve reached the 25k volunteers already. They will reopen the site again in Sept for another round.”
Great news for those seeking to renew their U.S. passport with very little hassle.
The U.S. Government is currently looking for 25,000 applicants in August to help them test out their new online passport renewal portal. “We are opening the portal to a limited number of volunteers during this pilot program before launching it to the general public later in 2022. If eligible, you will no longer have to mail your renewal application and supporting documents to us. To test the portal, we are seeking up to 25,000 applicants in August to follow the steps on this page. We will accept applications from volunteers on a first come, first serve basis until we reach 25,000 applicants in this phase of the pilot. If you are not one of the first 25,000 applicants, you may have an opportunity to renew online at a later date. Please check this page for updates.”
As someone who just finished renewing his passport recently, this is welcome news. It’s such a time suck and a bit of a nuisance to have to print out the forms and then go to the post office.
Here’s who can renew online:
- Your most recent passport is/was valid for 10 years, and you are age 25 or older.
- Your recent passport was issued over 9 years ago (in 2013) but less than 15 years ago (in 2007) from the date you plan to submit your application. Your passport can be expired.
- You are not changing your name, gender, date of birth, or place of birth.
- You are not traveling internationally for at least five weeks from the date you will submit your application. Processing times for the online renewal service will be the same as those for renewal by mail. We will offer both routine and expedited service.
- You are applying for a regular (tourist) passport. You cannot renew a special issuance (diplomatic, official, service) passport online.
- You live in the United States (either state or territory). You do not qualify to renew online if you live in a foreign country or have an Army Post Office (APO) or Fleet Post Office (FPO) address.
- You have your passport with you, and it is not damaged or mutilated, and you have not previously reported it as lost or stolen.
- You can pay for your passport using a credit/debit card or an ACH (Automated Clearing House) payment transferring funds from your bank account.
- You can upload a digital passport photo (.JPEG file format). Go to Uploading a Digital Photo for more information.
- You are aware that your most recent passport will be immediately invalidated (canceled) when you submit your application and you cannot use it for international travel.
If you do not qualify to renew online, you may be able to renew by mail or in-person. Go to our Renew page to learn more. ”
If you meet all 10 of the requirements above, you must follow these steps:
- Create a MyTravelGov account.
- Click the link in the ‘account verification’ email you will receive after creating your account.
- Wait up to 24 hours for us to register your account.
- Login to your MyTravelGov account and start your application. You should see an option to “Renew Passport” after 24 hours.”
Note: If you need support, call 855-865-7750 on Mondays through Fridays 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time (excluding federal holidays). Email PPTOPR@state.gov for support on weekends, federal holidays, and after 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on weekdays (Monday-Friday). Emails about your MyTravelGov account will come from MyTravelGov@state.gov.
Good to know: According to their website, they “are offering the same processing times to renew online as we are to renew by mail. Do not renew online if you are traveling internationally in less than five weeks.”
Also keep in mind that: the State Department is doing “Scheduled Maintenance” on Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 6:00 PM until Sunday, August 14, 2022 at 12:00 AM (Washington, D.C. time)” So the MyTravelGov, electronic Consular Report of Birth Abroad (eCRBA), and Online Passport Renewal (OPR) services will be unavailable.
Let me know in the comments below if you’re one of the25,000 customers, how the experience was and how long it took.
Reader, SL, submitted a comment about her experience. Here’s what she had to say: “I applied yesterday for online renewal and my husband applied today. The process was very easy for me, taking no longer than 15 minutes overall. Please note that it’s not possible to use a mobile device (I used Chrome on a laptop computer). Be prepared ahead of time with your current passport, information about your emergency contact who doesn’t travel with you, a digital photo meeting requirements, and your payment method. After completing the process, I immediately received e-mail confirmation that my application was received and five minutes later received e-mail confirmation that my application was being reviewed by a U.S. Department of State employee. Today my husband had a bit more difficulty. The website was glitchy, with numerous error messages at first. He was persistent and eventually successful. Once he was able to choose “Start new application,” the process worked smoothly. He received the second e-mail confirmation about 25 minutes after the first one. Crossing our fingers that our digital photos truly meet the requirements and we receive our renewed passports within a month or two.”