Renewing a US passport is quite a detailed experience. The rules do change occasionally, so be sure to stay well informed before your due date, and do renew by mail if possible.

There are two passport items to know about. One is a passport book and the other is a passport cardpassport book. The U.S. Passport Card can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry and is more convenient and less expensive than a passport book. The passport card cannot be used for international travel by air (Travel.State.Gov). You can apply for either or both, and the cost is more for both.
passport card

These instructions are for renewal within the United States.

Renew US Passport Cost

For adults (age 16 and above):
  • passport book and card = $140.00
  • passport book = $110.00
  • passport card = $30.00

Renew US Passport Application

For adults, by mail:
  • Complete form DS-82 online or print it out and use black ink to fill it out legibly.
  • Get 2 passport photos to mail along.
  • Include the current passport fee.
  • Don't submit cash, or a return mailer. Do use a traceable method of mailing like priority mail with signature or delivery confirmation.

You can only renew by mail if your current passport is undamaged, was issued when you were 16 or older AND within the last 15 years, was in your current name, or you can document a legal name change.

For adults, in person:
  • Complete form DS-11, but don't sign it until instructed to do so.
  • Provide your SSN (social security number).
  • Provide evidence of US citizenship such as; previous undamaged passport, certified birth certificate, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship.
  • Provide present ID such as; a valid driver's license, current undamaged passport, or military ID.
  • Provide photocopy of the ID used.
  • Provide 2 passport photos.
  • Pay the current passport fee.

You can renew your US passport by mail, or in person at a US post office. Different rules apply for each, so before you start either process, it is a good idea to check this web page which is the US State Department travel/passport State Department travel/passport section. The site gives instructions for how to obtain a passport in a hurry, and all the details of the photographs needed (dimensions, view, etc.). Forms needed are also included on the site.

Another suggestion is to check the USPS passport app site before you go to a post office. For instance, a new rule (effective July 13, 2010) was posted on the USPS passport application information web page. It states: If you are age 16 or over and eligible to use Form DS-82 (see for eligibility requirements), you do NOT need to pay the $25 acceptance fee when renewing your passport; the cost to renew a U.S. Passport Book is $110. If you are eligible to use form DS-82, the cost to apply for a U.S. Passport Card is $30.

These are the main details needed for US passport renewal information. Good luck and happy travels!