Passport renewal/replacement question

Anyone know anything about renewing or replacing an old passport? Back in 1987 I went to Europe, and now finally 20 years later I plan on returning to England. I haven’t used the passport in the meantime, and it may be still in my father’s safe deposit box but I’m not sure.

I went to the passport website and it looks like my old one is expired. When I look at the info on renewing it just says that it has to be less than 15 years old (well, and undamaged and etc. – though in one place it was ambiguous and I thought it could have been OR, but it looks like AND), which mine of course isn’t.

So I can see info on applying for a new passport, and renewals on old passports less old than mine, but I see nothing about my situation.

Anyone know if that just means I apply again as if it were a completely new thing for me? I’ve tried to search here and elsewhere, but I didn’t see anything mentioning this.

Thanks in advance to anyone who might set me on the right path here.

Yes, apply again from scratch (and soon, it takes for-freaking-ever). When you fill out the form, say “lost” and “more than 15 years ago” when they ask about previous passports.

Good to know… Thanks you.

Follow up questions, if I may then:

I’m moving to Tennessee from Wisconsin August 1… Does the state I’m living in at the time make any sort of difference?

And how long is forever? We’re planning on going the beginning of October. I reapply and the girlfriend applies for the first time. Is it an ASAP just in case sort of thing?

My son’s first passport took about 6-8 weeks, but that included having the application sent from Japan to the U.S., and then the passport making the return trip.

An while I don’t know what the busy seasons are for passports, I’d imagine that a lot of people may be applying now before they go on vacation for the summer, so it couldn’t hurt to get a move on.

It will help to have the old passport, regardless of how old it is; the key thing is being able to provide adequate ID, usually including a birth certificate if you are starting from scratch.

Better to apply sooner rather than later. That way you can find out how much of a hassle it is going to be (or not). Photocopy everything before you send it away b/c they will want the originals. There is a mechanism for accelerated application that costs extra (plus postage) if you are in a real hurry. You can pay for the accelerated application but not overnite postage if you have them mark the outside of the envelope. I use Priority Mail but with a sticker from the Passport office that says it’s an accelerated application. This is much cheaper than the Overnite Mail which they might try to sell you on. Make sure the outside of the mailing envelope is marked that it contains an accelerated application. Otherwise it just gets in line with everyone else.

An October timeframe is just fine for a regular application so don’t sweat it. It takes longer than it used to, but not that long.

Here’s a recent GQ thread about current timeframes for issuing passports and how to keep track of your passport application while it’s being processed:

Where is my passport?

Here is the Dept of State passport page I renewed mine this year. I sent it in early January and received in early April. IIRC, if you PP has been expired more tha 6 months, you’ll have to start over.

When you renew a passport, it’s the same as a new application, at least in Canada.

When I renewed mine, I left work early and went to the passport office downtown and made the application in person. They pre-screened my supporting documents when I arrived, to make sure they were all there and in sufficiently-good condition before I got in the main lineup. I paid in cash and got my new passport back by ExpressPost in two weeks.

I must warn you that I did this a year ago, specifically to beat the lineups caused by the rush for new passports after the new US border controls went in in January. It would probably take longer now, and definitely will if you mail the application in.

I just went through this and got mine last Wednesday.

Even though the old one is expired, you can still use it as proof of citizenship. They send it back with a couple of holes in it to show it’s invaldated. Wiith that, a two page form and valid picture ID it’s a really simple process.

The state department is processing record amounts of passports right now. DON"T WAIT. I paid the extra $60 and the Priority Mail to and from and it still took almost 4 weeks.

We’ve been dealing with this at work recently. It’s currently taking the government at least ten weeks to process passport applications. Because U.S. citizens returning from Canada and Mexico by sea or air now have to show a passport to re-enter the country, there’s been a huge upsurge in the number of applications. It’s only likely to get worse, since in January 2008, U.S. citizens re-entering by land will also need a passport. Apply now for your trip in October.

That’s not quite right. My passport expired April 1992. I renewed it by mail last month. It took about 3 weeks to have the new on in my hands (I used expedited service)

Interestingly, the U.S. Department of State’s website says your old passport had to have been issued in the last fifteen years, but the paperwork with my passport application (that I picked up at the U.S consulate’s office here) said my old passport had to have valid in the last 15 years. Discrepancy?

It expired in 1992 and I fed exed my application to them 6 days before the 15th anniversary of the expiration dated. I had no problems.

The 6 month timeframe is for visiting other countries. If your passport is going to expire imminently, you might not be allowed to visit another country. You passport usually needs to be valid for 6 months beyond your travel dates.

ETA: Oh, and as Mr. Goob said, I was able to use my expired passport all this time as proof of citizenship whenever I returned to the U.S. They still scanned it and everything, even though it expired over a decade ago. HOWEVER, it was no good for travelling elsewhere, or flying, or any time you’d need a “valid” passport.

It’s kind of a relief that I have my new one actually.

Looks like it is taking a long time for these to be approved right now… I guess I better get working on mine and tell my girlfriend to start her process up too.

Thanks for all the info.

I’m seeing three months or 10 weeks in the posts above for passport renewal, but when I was living in the US, it never took me longer than a month to get mine back.

Renewing it here, it used to take just a couple of days, back when they would issue them from Bangkok itself. But since 9/11, they all have to come from the National Passport Center in New Hampshire, and when I last renewed mine through the embassy, in 2003, it still only took two or three weeks. Maybe they make an extra effort to get it back to you while you’re abroad?

2003 is a while ago. Effective this year, everyone wanting to reenter the country by air, including from Mexico and Canada, needs one, so demand has gone up exponentially. The waits are currently nuts – three months isn’t an exaggeration.

Fortunately, mine won’t be up for renewal again for six more years. I hope things die down by then. Still, I would hope they would speed it up for those of us who live abroad. For instance, I have to report to Thai Immigration every 90 days with my passport. Then there’s the annual visa renewal, although careful planning would prevent my getting caught short on that one.

Still, When it took me a few weeks in the US, it took a couple of days in Bangkok. My two or three weeks in 2003 was when it was still a few weeks in the US. I’m betting it gets expedited for those of us who are outside the US. And what about getting it replaced if it’s lost? Surely there’s a contingency for that; they wouldn’t make you sit three months in another country unable to leave … or would they?

Update: I just checked on the Bangkok embassy’s American Services website, and they’re still saying two weeks:

"5. You will be told by the consular officer when your passport will be ready for pickup. Allow two weeks for processing; however, complicated cases may take longer. "

Just out of curiosity, I shot a message off to the embassy and asked them. They’re usually very good about answering. However, since it’s 1:11am here now, it’ll be a few hours before I hear back.

Update: HAHA! Still only two weeks for us! The embassy here in Bangkok asssures me that is the case.

I said they’re usually good about responding, and they did get right back to me this morning. Unfortunately, they misread my question and just gave me the standard procedure for renewing a passport without even mentioning time involved. So I called them up, it being during working hours now, and the lady said yes, they’re still getting them out in two weeks, no problem. I mentioned what I’d heard about three months inside the US now and the new rule about returning from Canada and Mexico, but she said that didn’t matter here.

We’re special. Like Paris Hilton. :cool:

So if you need to renew your passport quickly, maybe you should pop into a foreign country and try the embassy there. Of course, the snag is that foreign countries tend not to like to let you in if you have less than six months left on your passport.

Wacky embassy. After I called them just a little while ago, they sent me this other e-mail. Someone must have mentioned they didn’t answer my question, but I didn’t give my name over the phone. But it says:

Most countries in the region require six month’s validity remaining on
your current passport. Your new passport will be ready for pick-up at
the Embassy two weeks after you apply. You will retain your current
passport until your new passport arrives. When you pick up your new
passport we will cancel your current passport and provide you with a
letter to have your Thai visa transferred from your cancelled passport
to your new passport.

American Citizen Services

With only a cursory glance at the above posts I’m not sure if someone already mentioned this, but if you apply online the wait times are significantly reduced. At least in Canada.

I applied online, printed it out and took it down to the passport office the same day. There were about 75 people ahead of me but because I filled out the application online, I went to the head of the line. My passport came in the mail two weeks later. This was in April. I had heard of incredibly long wait times but mine came in record time. :slight_smile:

Check to see if you can speed up your application process by doing it online.