When Should You Renew Your Passport? What You Need To Know

When should you renew your passport?

Planning an international trip? It’s time to double-check your passport. Is it full of stamps, badly damaged, or expiring soon? If so, it may be time to renew.

Every traveler with intentions to visit other countries needs a passport. However, passports don't last forever, and at some point, you'll need a new one. But exactly how long is a passport good for? Below, we’ll discuss in detail just how long a passport lasts and when to renew it.

How Long Does a Passport Last?

So, exactly how long is a passport good for? It depends. A passport is typically good for ten years. That is unless you’re under the age of 16, in which case, it’s only valid for five years. If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. The appearance of those under the age of 16 changes much more rapidly than those over the age of 16. Parents traveling with little ones should take an especially close look at expiration dates on passports for the entire family, even if all passports were issued in the same year.

When to Renew an Expired Passport

There are a few incidents that indicate it's time to renew your passport. These include expiration, damage (especially to the cover), and passports with only a few blank pages.

Renew Passport Based on Date of Expiration

The most obvious reason to renew your passport is that it's about to expire. However, did you know that some countries require passports to have six months of validity? It doesn't matter if you're traveling for a month or just a day — travelers can be denied boarding if their passport is scheduled to expire within six months.

Countries that require at least six months of validity include Brazil, China, Vietnam, Thailand, and throughout Europe. However, check the individual requirements of each country you are traveling to for confirmation.

Renew Passport If It’s Damaged

If your passport is damaged beyond normal wear and tear, you might want to consider renewing it. Also, keep in mind that the passport's cover is particularly important. Since 2007, passport covers have contained a chip, which allows travelers to go through electronic gates instead of waiting in long lines at immigration.

Renew Passport If It’s Full

If you're an avid traveler, you've likely got a passport full of stamps. If this is the case, consider getting a new passport. Some countries require visas that can take up an entire page, and if you're a frequent traveler, pages can fill up quickly. In some instances, countries require two to four blank pages to enter.

A standard passport has 28 pages. If you are a frequent traveler and close to running out of pages to stamp in your passport, you may want to consider renewing to get an extended passport. This includes 52 pages, leaving travelers with an extra 24 pages to use!

The Best Time to Renew an Expired Passport, Damaged Passport, or Full Passport

The best time to renew a damaged or full passport is right away. The best time to renew all other passports is at least nine months before it expires. This means you’ll have plenty of time to complete the paperwork and mail the almost-expired passport to the authorities. Many countries may take up to six weeks (or even longer) to process and issue a new passport, so this leaves enough time to receive it before expiration dates. If you're in a rush, consider paying extra for expedited processing. An expedited passport can often be processed in as little as two to three weeks.

If your passport has already expired but is still in your possession and was issued less than 15 years ago, you can sometimes still use it to request a renewal. Also, if you have an expired passport, an almost expired passport, a damaged passport, or a full passport and you need to travel as soon as possible, make an appointment with a local passport agency instead of mailing to speed up the process.

While international travel is quite an adventure, advanced planning is always a good idea. Remember to double-check your passport before booking and check the regulations and requirements of the country you're traveling to.

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