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How Can I Get a Passport Extension?

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  • Written By: N. Swensson
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 September 2014
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In the United States, requirements for obtaining a passport extension differ depending on individual situations. In general, a person who has an existing passport in good condition with current information can apply by mail for a passport extension or renewal through the US Department of State. Those who are able to apply by mail need to fill out the appropriate form and mail it with any additional documentation that is required In other cases, such as when the existing document is severely damaged or contains outdated information or when a new passport is needed very quickly, it may be necessary to complete the form in person at a regional passport agency or another facility that is authorized to accept applications. In certain circumstances, a person’s application for a new passport may be denied, such as when outstanding child support is owed.

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To request a passport extension by mail, the applicant must have a current passport that is not more than 15 years old and is in good condition. The current passport must also have been issued when the person was age 16 or older. If the existing document does not contain the applicant’s current name, he or she must provide legal documentation of the name change along with the other necessary documents. The required information form for a mail submission can be obtained on the US State Department’s website, along with information about any additional documents that may be needed, such as the current passport, updated photos, and fee payments.

It can take four to six weeks to receive a passport extension by mail. If a person pays an additional cost for expedited service, he or she can receive the new document in two to four weeks, but will need to apply in person. Those who do not have legal documentation of a name change or whose existing passport is damaged or unreadable are also unable to apply by mail. Many local post offices or libraries are able to process passport extension applications. Most people living outside of the United States will need to visit the US Consulate or Embassy that is closest to where they live, although Canadian residents are permitted to apply by mail.

The National Passport Information Center is part of the US Department of State and provides current information on passport extension requirements. Its website provides information on passport centers, as well as additional tips to ensure efficient processing. Those with additional questions on the renewal process can also contact the center by phone or email.

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