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Applying for a U.S. Passport


Can I renew my passport before it expires? 

You may renew your passport at any time before or after it expires.     

If I don't plan to travel back to the United States any time soon, why should I renew my passport now? 

  • The passport is proof of U.S. citizenship. Every U.S. citizen abroad should have valid proof of his/her citizenship at all times.
  • Life is unpredictable. You never know when you may need to travel suddenly to the United States. The last thing you need to do in an emergency is worry about getting to the Embassy to get your or your child's passport renewed. It is much better to do it when it is convenient for you.
  • A valid passport is required for many British administrative purposes and you do not want to get caught with an expired passport if you need to process an application for some benefit.
  • If you wait too long, adults cannot renew an expired passport by mail. You will have to apply in person and pay an extra fee.

Will I get my passport back when I renew it?

Yes. In nearly all cases, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you with the new one. If we are not able to return your old passport for any reason, we will discuss this with you at the time of application.

What happens to the visa stamps in my current passport when the passport is cancelled?

We do not have the authority to transfer visas or stamps issued by other countries. When you renew your passport, your old passport will be cancelled and returned to you with your new one; you should then contact the appropriate authority of the country that issued the visa for further information. Information concerning the transfer of UK stamps is available from the U.K. Home Office at  

Do I submit my passport application directly to the United States?

No.  You must apply for the passport at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you are currently present.  If you are in England or Wales, you must submit your application to this Embassy. If you are in Scotland, the U.S. Consulate General in Edinburgh, or in N. Ireland, the U.S. Consulate General in Belfast. 

Do I have to submit my passport application by courier? 

If you are eligible to apply for the passport renewal by courier, you should use this service.  Appointments are limited and are reserved for those who are required to apply in person.  Please see the instructions for your specific passport service for more information.

The instructions on the passport forms are different from those on this website. Which should I follow?

You should disregard the instructions on the passport forms as they refer specifically to passport applications processed in the United States. You should follow the instructions on this website.

How long is a passport valid for?

In general, children under the age of 16 are issued passports valid for five years; those 16 and over are issued passports valid for ten years.

How long will it take to process my passport application?

You should allow four weeks for a full validity passport (ten years for adults; five years for children under age 16) or second passport to be processed, regardless of the method of application. 

How long is an emergency passport valid for?

Emergency passports can be issued for a maximum of one year.

Can I have extra pages added to my valid passport, or should I apply for a new one?

You may apply to have extra pages added to the passport. Alternatively if your passport will expire shortly you may apply to renew it. If you are a frequent traveler, you may request a 52-page passport in writing with your application. There is no additional fee for this service.

My passport was issued in my maiden name; can I change it to my married name?

Yes, but you will have to apply for a new passport in the new name.

If I use a different name than that which is on my birth certificate/most recent passport, can I change the name on my passport?

There are certain acceptable forms of name changes that may be entered into U.S. passports. For further information on acceptable name changes and application procedures to apply for a new passport in your new name, please follow this link.

I just got my new passport back and there's a mistake in it. What do I do?

Contact us as soon as possible.