Passport Renewal: When Should You Renew Your Passport?

When is the best time for a passport renewal?

Wondering what is the best time for your passport renewal? The answer to when you should renew your passport will depend on a lot of factors – your passport, your life, and your travel. Today, we’ll help you figure out when you should renew your passport. We’ll review the rules on passport renewals and some special circumstances that would require you to renew your passport early. (FYI, this article only applies to renewing a passport that was issued after you turned 16 years old. Different rules apply to minor passports issued to kids age 15 and younger.)

The Rules on When to Renew Your Passport

The US State Department’s rules on the timing of passport renewals are pretty simple. Basically, you can renew your passport at any time within 15 years of the date it is issued. That’s right, there’s no such thing as “too early” to renew your passport! There are a lot of reasons that you might need to renew your passport early, which we’ll discuss below.

Even though it’s never too early to renew your passport, it can definitely be too late. Don’t wait too long after your passport expires to submit for a renewal. You have five years after the expiration date to request a passport renewal. After that, you have to apply for a passport using the new adult passport procedure.

Why You Might Need to Renew Your Passport Early

Most of us wait to renew our passports until they are close to expiring, or have already expired. But there are a number of reasons why you might need a passport renewal even if your passport has years of validity left.

  • Name Change. If your passport was issued more than one year ago, and you have legally changed your name, you’ll need to renew your passport in order to change the name on it.
  • No Blank Passport Pages. The US government no longer adds extra pages to valid passports. If you travel a lot and have filled up your passport with entry stamps and visas, you’ll need to renew it. (Pro Tip: frequent travelers can request a large 52-page passport book when they renew!)
  • Poor Passport Condition. Is your passport looking worn out? It’s a good idea to renew your passport early if your passport is some wear and tear. Minor damage to your passport cause you hassles with airport and immigration officials when you travel. Save yourself the stress, and do an early passport renewal!
  • Major Change in Appearance. Do you still look like the person in your passport photo? A big change in appearance is a reason for an early passport renewal. We’re not talking about minor cosmetic changes like dyeing your hair, growing a beard, or getting a facelift, but a drastic change like losing 100+ pounds or having facial reconstructive surgery.

Don’t Wait Until Your Passport Expires to Renew

If you love to travel, you should make sure your passport is always valid for international travel.  That means checking to see that it hasn’t expired, right? Wrong. Many countries require that you have a certain amount of validity left on your passport. In the travel industry, this is called the “six month rule” because so many countries will not allow you to enter if you don’t have at least six months left on your passport. This is why we recommend that you renew your passport 6-9 months before it expires.

Traveling somewhere that requires a visa? If you are getting a long-term visa for your destination, you may need even more than the standard minimum six months of validity on your passport. Most countries want your passport to be valid for at least six months past the expiration date of your visa.

Need a Fast Passport Renewal?

If you’ve just realized that you need a passport renewal before you travel, don’t worry. Express Passport is here to help you renew your passport in a flash! We can have your passport renewed in as little as one business day. Just start your order online today, and rest assured that your new passport will be back in your hands quickly.