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Passport renewal? There's an app for that

(Foxnews) Ten years after the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) required Americans traveling to Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean and Bermuda to carry U.S. passports, the ItsEasy Passport Renewal & Photo app has arrived just in time for tens of millions of Americans whose passports will soon expire. The app, a free download, was released this month for iPhones and will soon be available for Android phones.

The ItsEasy app guides customers through the passport renewal process, starting with determining whether the expired passport is actually renewable.

There are numerous reasons why a passport may not be renewable, said David Alwadish, CEO and president of the app’s developer, ItsEasy.com. “For example, the traveler may not have the most recent passport in his or her possession, or it may be damaged beyond what is acceptable to the Department of State. Or the most recent passport may have expired more than five years ago.

“In each of these cases, the customer would need to apply for a new passport rather than a renewal.”

The ItsEasy app provides guidelines for taking a passport photo with your smartphone, and a gauge to help ensure that faces are sized to the proper dimensions.

The app sends an email with a printable passport renewal form and a USPS Priority Mail shipping label to be affixed to a 9 x 12 envelope. The user fills out the renewal form, puts it in the envelope with his most recent passport and then drops it in any mailbox.

The State Department charges $110 to renew a passport within the standard time frame (about six weeks, according to Cocks), and $170 for an expedited one. There’s an additional service fee of $29.95 if you use the ItsEasy app.

Posted by
33332 posts

So for your $29.95 what do you get?

An unofficial app which doesn't guarantee the photos will be accepted.
The same renewal form you could have for free.
Oh yes, but you have to print it out.
A filled in shipping label. That's valuable.
Do they provide the envelope or is that for the customer to find?

Bargain.

Posted by
41 posts

My fiancée and I submitted our passports for renewal on February 13 with regular service. We received our new passports 19 and 20 days later. No expedited processing fees necessary.

$30 for an app that doesn't do the work for you sounds like highway robbery.

Posted by
23471 posts

These copied news release without vetting is fairly worthless. Goes right along with how to get money in Europe. But, then consider the source - Fox News. What is the point of an app that you use once every ten years. And in the ten years the app is out of date. An passport application is pretty simple.

Posted by
14580 posts

not needed, unnecessary.

My passport was up for renewal mid-May 2015, sent in for the renewal by US mail on 23 March 2015 and received it exactly a month later on 23 April, took off SFO to Paris a month late on 20 May. Everything worked perfectly. No extra fees paid.

Posted by
518 posts

...(sigh), another "app writer" trying to make a buck by convincing us that somehow, they've made this process easier. Can't wait to see that app that helps you do your taxes.

Posted by
9363 posts

KC, there are apps that help you do your taxes (not going to dignify them by mentioning names).
But this one is completely unnecessary and seems to do nothing for you except send you the same form you can get online already and a mailing label. I can run by the post office and accomplish the same thing in minutes for free. As picky as they are about photos, I wouldn't trust an app to take a photo that would acceptable, either.

Posted by
15485 posts

I don't see how that expedites the process.

I wish renewing my US passport would be as easy as to renew my Italian passport at the Consulate.

Go to website of Italian Consulate in SF
Fill application online.
Make apptm on line (for a couple of weeks later or sooner if emergency)
Go to Consulate General in SF on Webster (at Broadway) on day and time of apptm, enter passport office, guy takes your digital fingerprints (5-10 minutes), prints your passport book (another 2 minutes), you pay, you walk out with new passport. Total time; 20 min max.
The only problem: to find street parking in Pacific Heights in SF took me 1/2 an hour.

Posted by
11613 posts

Phred, sorry but I have to agree, if you only need it every ten years, what's the point? And $30 for passport photos and an envelope (Nigel, it appears that the envelope is included from Phred's description) seems a bit high. But the main thing is ,it's a one time in ten years application.

Posted by
33332 posts

oh well then, if they throw in the envelope (gosh only knows how hard it is to get one of them on a Saturday) it's -OK- then.

Posted by
4600 posts

Ya know guys, when I post something it's often an FYI thing. People will hear about an app for passports and wonder what it's all about. So now they will know, and if they read the comments they will know it's not necessary.

It's an app-crazy world so folks are going to be drawn to them, good or bad.