If you’re wondering how early you can renew your passport, you’ve come to the right place.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn exactly that and:
- When it’s best to renew a passport so that certain countries and airlines won’t give you any trouble.
- 4 (four) specific circumstances for early passport renewal.
- Lots more.
When can I renew my passport?
It is best to renew your passport about 9 (nine) months before it expires. That said, it is possible to renew a passport at any given moment, be it 2 (two) weeks after receiving it or even when the document is past its expiration date.
The U.S. Department of State does not put strict limits on when you are allowed to submit your passport renewal application, nor requires you to justify it. Instead, the officials indicate a recommended period before expiration (learn more about limits and renewal periods) to ensure a smooth transition between your old and new passports.
As the U.S. Department of State rightly points out, various countries have introduced a 6 (six) months validity rule. It means that you can enter countries with such limitations only when your passport has at least 6 (six) months left until the expiration date—hence, the recommended 9 (nine) months period. Other than that, there are no limits.
Your passport book or passport card does not have to be expired to be eligible for renewal.
Passport nearing its expiry date? Get ahead of the game and up to speed by reading:
- How the Italian Passport Renewal Process Works in the U.S.
- Renewing Your Philippine Passport in California: What to Know Before You Go
- Italian Passport Renewal in NYC: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Learn How to Renew a Chinese Passport in the U.S.
- Renew U.S. Passport—Your Ultimate Guide for Adult Renewals
- How to Renew Your Hong Kong Passport
- How to Get a Passport in Oklahoma
Renew your passport early: circumstances
The thing about passport renewal is that it is up to you when you decide to do so. Of course, there is a set of specific circumstances when you have to renew your traveling document, but apart from those, you are welcome to file for a renewal whenever you wish.
Below you can find some of the circumstances for early passport renewal.
Although you are not required to apply for a new passport when you change your name, it is a recommendation from the U.S. Department of State that you do so. Read more about U.S. passports with maiden names.
Change in physical appearance
Minor changes, such as a different hairstyle, growing a beard or getting new glasses, do not call for renewal. Major changes, such as cosmetic surgeries, facial tatoos or sex-change procedures, do require a new passport.
Long-term international travel plans
Any international travel requires a valid passport, not only to enter the country, but also to legally be there. Therefore, if you wish to travel the world for the years to come, you need to make sure your passport is valid throughout the whole journey.
Working abroad is only possible with a valid passport, unless you have a residence permit (in the U.S. it is a Green Card). If you plan to carry on with your business from abroad, you may consider renewing your passport early, to make sure it remains valid.
These are just a few of the common reasons for early passport renewal. For as long as you are eligible for a passport renewal (find more about that here), you can apply for a new passport for whatever reason you find suitable—a long trip abroad, a name change, or even a hairstyle you no longer like.
- See how to renew your passport at a Post Office.
- Learn if you can renew your passport online and how to do it.
- Or, if you prefer, find out how to renew your passport in person.
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When can I renew my passport: FAQ
Now, let us answer the most frequently asked questions on the U.S. passport renewal minimum times.
How early can you renew your U.S. passport before it expires?
There is no minimum time to renew your passport before it expires. Although the U.S. Department of States recommends renewing your passport approximately 9 (nine) months before the expiration date, you are allowed to do it at any point in time.
How far in advance can I renew my passport?
You can renew your U.S. passport at any moment through its validity. There are no specific time limitations, however, the U.S. Department of State recommends renewing your passport one year before it expires.
Can I renew my U.S. passport 2 years before it expires?
Yes, you can renew your U.S. passport 2 (two) years before it expires. There are no laws regulating the minimum passport validity before it is eligible for renewal. You can renew your passport at any time.
Can you renew your passport 6 months before it expires?
Yes, you can renew your U.S. passport 6 (six) months before it expires. What is more, it is recommended to do that, as some countries only allow travelers who have over 6 (six) months left until their passport expires. Learn more here. If your passport has less than 6 (six) months until the expiration date, you will be denied access to those countries.
Can I renew my passport 3 years before it expires?
Yes, you can renew your passport 3 (three) years before it expires. You can renew your traveling document anytime you wish, as there are no restrictions towards the time needed for passport renewal. Learn more about U.S. passport renewals.
What is the earliest you can renew your passport?
There is no earliest date when U.S. citizens can renew their passports. In fact, they can do it whenever they want and for whatever reason. However, if nothing urgent happens, the U.S. State Department recommends renewing American travel documents 9 (nine) months before the passport’s expiration date.
Is there the best time to renew a passport?
If there are no circumstances that call for faster-renewing services, the best time would be 9 (nine) months upon the passport’s expiry date. This way, holders will safely and comfortably renew their passports on time since most countries support the rule of 6-months validity.
How many months before can I renew my passport?
Generally, U.S. passport holders should renew their passports 9 (nine) months before they expire. However, if there are any changes in passport information, you can renew your passport anytime.
Can you renew your passport anytime?
Yes, holders of American passports can renew them anytime. Apart from changing personal information, passport photos, or renewing it due to some damage, remember to keep your passport valid for international trips.
Can we apply for a passport before its expiry date?
Yes, you can submit a renewal application for a new passport before the old one expires. U.S. citizens can do it before an international trip to ensure that their passports will be valid long enough, or in the case of personal data change.
How soon can you renew your U.S. passport: closing thoughts
The Department of State says that you should renew your passport only when it’s close to the expiration date, or when you meet the obligatory-for-renewal circumstances.
And if the reason for renewing is the passport photo, try Passport Photo Online—an AI-backed application that will help you create a perfect, acceptable passport picture within seconds. Download it free on Android or iOS, and check the app yourself!
Adam is an SEO & Digital PR writer with a child’s curiosity about the surrounding world. His superpower to dig out juicy facts got him citations in Forbes, Social Media Today, and 90+ other news outlets. Adam enjoys snapping pictures and won the national Huawei Next Image Award.