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Last week, my brother called me and told me that he was at LAX airport and the airline wouldn’t let him on the plane to Asia. Why? Because his passport was going to expire in 5 months and 29 days. Within the last 2 years, many countries now require that travelers must hold passports that are valid of at least 6 months. PAIN!!!

Three Ways to Renew Your Passport

1. Expedited Passport Renewal: Fortunately, my brother was able to make a same day expedited passport renewal appointment with the Los Angeles Regional Passport Agency. Since he went in to the office, I believe he had to pay the $75 renewal cost + $60 expedited fee.  With his passport in hand, he was able to reschedule his flight out for the next day. If you’re heading out of the country within 2 weeks or if you need your passport for to apply for a visa within 4 weeks, your best bet is to go into one of the offices. If you have some time to spare, you have the option to mail in a passport with standard fees + $60 expediated renewal + overnight shipping fees. Traveling Tip: don’t count on the airlines to tell you about passport requirements. Check all visa/passport requirements before heading abroad. Some countries, like Cambodia, will ask you for 2-3 passport pictures upon entry into their country.

2. Mail in Passport Book Renewal: After hearing about my brother’s nightmare, I decided to renew my passport ASAP since I’ll be doing some traveling to Asia soon. The US Department of State’s Travel/Passport website offers different ways for you to update your passport. Since I have 2 months before I head out to Asia, I opted to mail in my passport. It takes approximately 3 weeks for the processing time. All I had to do was fill out the DS-82 form, my passport, and $75 processing fee. It was all pretty painless.

If you’re name changed or if you’re renewing a passport issued to you before you’re 16, you must fill out one of the other forms.

Address to Mail in to: National Passport Processing, P.O. Box 13349, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101-3349 (check with the US Department of State’s site first)

3. Renewing through Private Companies: Many travel agencies also will renew your passport for you. But it will cost much more than if you were to do it yourself. In my opinion, it was such a fast and easy process for me to mail it in, that I wouldn’t recommend going through a private company.

Additional Reading and Resources:

When your valid passport isn’t really valid – MSNBC

National Passport Information Center

How to Renew or Apply for A Passport – WashingtonPost.com

US Department of State/Passport

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