The time had come. Everyone needed to renew passports. Well…actually…passport expired a few years ago. But, we were traveling in the US, so we did not see the need to renew them. That was until we went to Niagara Falls. We wanted to walk across the bridge into Canada, but couldn’t due to our passports being expired.
We planned on getting them renewed many times between September of 2015 and last week. One thing or another came up and we postponed. Well, it is a good thing that we did. You see, if you are 16 or older, your passport is good for 10 years. If you are 15 or under, it is only good for 5 years. And this year, Ethan turned 16. So we were able to renew the passports for everyone in the family for 10 years, except our youngest Nomad who is only 12.
I have a few tips that will make your passport renewal process smoother. First of all, if you got your expired or expiring passport after you were 16, you can actually mail in your form and picture for a new passport. If you were under 16 when you got your current expired or expiring passport, you will need to go into a passport acceptance facility, which is located in most post offices.
First of all, whether you mail it in or have to visit a passport acceptance facility, you will save time and money by taking your own pictures. You can see some tips from the Department of State’s website for taking good passport photos. Second, if you are visiting a passport acceptance facility, you will save time by filling out the forms beforehand. You can find the forms and locations of passport acceptance facilities near you on the State Department’s Passport page.
Finally, if you are processing more than one renewal, have a check made out for each application to the State Department. You can find the fees on the same website I just listed. Please note, if you have to go to a passport acceptance facility, there is a $25 per person processing fee. If you mail it in because you qualify to mail in the renewal, you will save $25.
As with anything, a little bit of planning and preparedness can go a long way. We got in, processed the whole family and was back out the door in about 25 minutes. Safe Travels.