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Passport renewal at the Post Office?

My husband needs a new passport, and I would like to get it before I book flights for our trip to Japan, which I will do in early December. So the six-week time frame for renewal by mail will work, but I am curious about renewal at the Post Office. Our local PO is close, has easy parking, and will take his photo. (Usually we do that at AAA, but the office is nowhere close).

Is there any reason we should NOT go the Post Office route? Does it take longer, etc?

I know we could just go to a photo booth, but they are so picky about the photo these days Inwould rather have it done by an "official" facility to make sure it is right ( properly centered, neutral expression, etc.)

Posted by
3477 posts

I have always used the Post Office for Passport application and renewal. Mainly because they do much better pictures than AAA. You do have to pay for the pictures. But as you mention, they are done correctly the first time.

There is nothing speedier by using the post office. They mail your completed forms the same as you would if you did it yourself. But I have not noticed it taking any longer than directly mailing either.

There is a dedicated window at my closest Post Office and they only take applications when that window is open which is not all hours the Post Office is open. Yours may be different.

Posted by
6877 posts

Walgreens is authorized to do passport photos. Don't know if you got one nearby. I got mine there two times. Nothing to it. Passport renewals are quicker than ever

Posted by
5465 posts

Maybe the advantage to the Post Office is someone to verify that your form is complete and that everything needed is included....as opposed to getting a return two weeks later for additional information.

Posted by
6877 posts

Since you put it in Money Saving How much more is it to have it done at the Post Office?

Posted by
3477 posts

Last time I had my passport renewed at the post office there was no extra charge.

Posted by
12563 posts

I put it in " money saving" as it seemed the best fit. I am really looking for convenience, and do not expect to save money, just time. The Post Office charges $15 for the photo which is about the same as AAA. But the AAA offices are mikes away, with bad freeway traffic, as opposed to our local PO which is about a mile away, with no traffic at all.

I am glad to hear others have done it and it is a good option. I will call and make an appointment. And then get the required documents together.

Posted by
12563 posts

The State Department website says if we are applying in person, we must us form DS-11 instead of DS-82, but that does not appear to be particularly onerous or difficult. Just a few more lines to fill out.

Posted by
1128 posts

Just double check that the post office is still doing the photo. Mine either doesn’t do them any longer or wasnt available when I went. That resulted in a 20 minute walk to and from Walgreens in a Chicago January.

Posted by
1268 posts

When I renewed by mail it only took 2 weeks.

Posted by
6578 posts

Doesn't Walmart also take passport pictures. CVS does too.

You can download the forms to renew the passport online, and mail them with the picture directly to The Gov't.

Posted by
12563 posts

Walmart, CVS, etc. all involve a trip into Seattle or Bellevue, neither of which is convenient.

The online "acceptance center" finder says our nearest Post Office does take photos, but I will confirm that when I make the appointment.

Posted by
4622 posts

Taking your passport renewal form to the post office is very easy and convenient.
The post office agent will make sure the application is complete, and will send it out for you.
Just make sure your husband brings his old passport, as well as a couple of blank checks, when he goes to the post office.

Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
2342 posts

I had my passport renewal photos taken at Walgreen's and if I thought I really looked like that, I would never leave the house!

My only concern about getting the photos made at the post office is that people are often disappointed because no one is available to take the pictures. This is based on my observations at the main post office in my home town.

Posted by
19487 posts

It's common for post offices to have limited hours for the acceptance of passport applications. I don't know whether there may be additional limitations if you also need photos taken. I believe not all the application-acceptance sites offer photo service.

Posted by
12400 posts

The last two times I had to renew my passport in 2005 and 2015 I went to the post office to get the form, sent it in with the photos, got my renewal passport in less than a month, ca 3 weeks.

Posted by
5697 posts

Wow! You guys have full-service post offices! I urged my husband to use renew-by-mail (with photos by Costco) but he wanted in-person service -- after waiting in line during the limited passport acceptance hours he was told that he would HAVE TO mail the renewal form, they only did initial passports at that location. No photo availability, either.

(If we had been in a rush, we could have driven 10 miles to the State Department Passport Office in downtown San Francisco. Not an option open to most.)
P.S. Costco photos were MUCH superior to ones I had done at Walgreens -- and a bargain at $4!

Posted by
12563 posts

So here is what happened. Our little local post office (we live on an island near Seattle) was listed as an acceptance facility, with photo services. The website said “ appointment required” but no one answered the phone after many attempts. So we stopped by, no line. The woman said they cannot take renewal applications, only new ones. But she did take the picture, hand us the application form*, and say would could bring it all back and she would make sure it is all OK. Actually I am not concerned about that—-we have managed to apply for renewal by a mail on previous occasions. *and we will use the auto fill application rather than hand-write the application.

Posted by
1864 posts

At our PO we have to make an appt to do passport renewal, but I do live in a smaller place than Seattle. It is nice to have another set of eyes to be sure forms are filled out right.
Walgreens will do the photos, but nothing else.

Posted by
908 posts

I used FedEx/Kinkos for my most recent photo. It was okay. They provided a nice sleeve for the extra photo that I got to keep. The one ten years ago from CVS was a better picture, but I was 10 years younger and smiling! I don’t think any of the photos look great now that you can’t smile and have to maintain a neutral face.

The post offices around here in northern VA (as far as I know) don’t seem to offer the passport service.

Posted by
324 posts

My local post office recently switched to scheduled appointments instead of walk ins. There is an online scheduler that shows avaliable times.

Posted by
4568 posts

I’ve never considered using the post office for renewal, mainly because of the additional $35 for processing that they charge and the limited hours which are inconvenient for someone who works full time. The post office route doesn’t result in faster processing time since they still have to send it to the State Dept processing center.

I found the online application easy to fill out and mail in. There are lots of places near me that take passport photos, I got mine done at a UPS store.

Is it worth the extra fee for the convenient location? Only you can decide that.