Why did my passport expire so early?

So I was looking for my passport the other day, all the while thinking “hmm, I should probably renew the thing, it’s been about ten years since I got it.” I managed to find it (phew!) and indeed it was expired…but it’s been expired since 2006. I got it in 2001.

It should be mentioned that I first got it when I was about 12 or 13, and I’m thinking that may have something to do with it…maybe if you get one in the US when you’re a minor, it expires earlier? That’s my guess, because I can’t think of any other reason why it would.

So what’s the dope? Why did my 2001-issued passport expire in 2006?

Regular (blue cover)
Issuable to all citizens and non-citizen nationals. Periods of validity: for those age 16 or over, generally ten years from the date of issue; for those 15 and younger, generally five years from the date of issue.

Per Wiki.

Yes, if you’re 15 or younger, the passport is valid for 5 years. Makes sense, especially since your appearance changes so much in that time that it would be kind of silly for a 20-year-old to have a passport photo of them when they were 11, for instance.

Yeah, that’s kind of what I thought too. Doesn’t make much sense for a grown adult to be carrying around a passport with a child’s picture on it.

For what it’s worth, the expiration doesn’t matter if all you’re doing with it is using it to get a new one.

I got mine as a 17-year-old, and it’s terrifying that it’s still valid. I look radically different now than I did then.

Not quite true — if enough time has passed since it expired, you might have to apply in person rather than being able to renew by mail. (The OP’s passport is new enough that this point doesn’t apply to her, though she’ll have to renew in person anyway because she was under 16 when the previous passport was issued.)

It actually didn’t even occur to me that you could renew it by mail (can you tell I’ve never renewed a passport before?). I planned on doing it in person. But good to know!

I remember that something similar to this was a plot point in a show that aired on Nickelodeon (1990’s)? Two boys in the UK need to travel to the US on very short notice, but one of them doesn’t have a passport, so the other boy offers his sister’s passport. The passport-less boy is not entirely enthused, but is convinced that it is feasible because the photo in the passport is of a baby that could be anyone.

They both make it through, with the boy crossdressing as a girl (he’s young enough that he passed as a girl rather easily), but can’t wait to take the dress off, which makes him feel awkward.

Keep it in mind for your next renewal in 2021, assuming the USPS still exists then. :slight_smile: