Often, people assume that once they hand in a passport renewal application, they will get a new passport within a few weeks. However, this is not guaranteed. Once the state passport offices receive an application, they assess it and determine if you qualify to get a new passport. If not, they throw out the application or contact you to make revisions. On the upside, you can avoid the hassle of uncertainty by renewing your passport through a trustworthy passport renewal agency that can ensure your application meets all the requirements. If you’re curious about what can get in the way, consider the mistakes outlined below:
Mistakes that Hinder Passport Renewal
The passport renewal process is very straightforward as it requires applicants to mail in their paperwork, thus eliminating the need to go to a passport office. But simple as it is, many people still make mistakes in the following ways:
As you renew your passport, you must submit your most current passport. It serves as proof of identification and U.S. citizenship and is thus integral to the process. However, passport offices will not accept the passport if it has the following problems:
- The passport was issued more than fifteen years ago: Passport offices can process a renewal for an expired passport. However, the date of issue cannot be more than fifteen years ago.
- The passport has been altered or damaged: Your most recent passport should be in good condition. Wear and tear is acceptable, but the passport cannot have significant damage, e.g., missing pages.
- The passport name differs from your current name: There are two ways that the passport office goes about this. If you changed your legal name and can provide sufficient legal documentation to support this, the renewal can take place. But you don’t qualify to renew your passport if you don’t have supporting documentation.
- The passport should have been issued when you were at least 16 years old: Minor passports last five years and are not eligible for renewal. Instead, you must get a new passport each time your passport expires. Only adults can renew their passports, and you thus do not qualify if you were a minor when you got the last passport.
- The passport has been reported lost or stolen: Anyone whose passport gets lost or stolen must report the incident to prevent identity theft. Such reported passports get invalidated and are thus invalid for travel. Moreover, you must have your physical passport to renew it and you cannot do this if the passport is lost or stolen.
Does your passport meet these criteria? If it does not, you should apply for a new passport using form DS-11 and submit your proof of citizenship and identification. Like you did the first time, you must verify your documents at an acceptance agent before signing the form.
Passport officers expect you to submit a passport photo taken in the last three months which complies with the U.S. passport photo guidelines. As such, the officers often reject photos that have the following errors:
- Your face and neck are not visible due to poor lighting, poor image quality, etc.,
- Your hair or clothes are covering your face and neck,
- You do not have a neutral position, and
- The picture has shadows that your ears have not cast.
The above mistakes are not an exhaustive list of what could result in rejection. You should thus ensure you take a compliant photo by trusting a professional with the job. On the upside, if your photo gets rejected, you can submit a compliant one without restarting the application.
There are different passport application forms for each passport service. People who want to renew their passports should use form DS-82 and not any other form. While this would seem straightforward, some people still make this mistake.
The key to getting your passport renewed on time is to submit a passport that meets the renewal criteria, fill in form DS-82, submit any additional documents (e.g., legal name change documents), and hand in a compliant passport photo.