Once eligibility for a mail-in or in-person passport application has been determined, the client fills out the appropriate application form, submits the old passport, or passport card, any supporting legal documents, the application fee and a passport photo.
Adults whose passports were issued when they were age 16 or older may use their old passport to renew, as long as it is undamaged and was issued within the last 15 years. If a name was legally changed, for instance through marriage, a certified government document must also be included.
The above qualifications allow users to submit application form DS-82, which may be done in person or by mail. Anyone who doesn't qualify, such as a minor aged 15 or under, with or without a previous passport, must use form DS-11 and apply in person.
The rules are the same for passport cards, which are used for land or sea travel to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. These cards are less expensive than regular passports, but aren't good for air travel.
U.S. Citizens living outside the country may renew their passports at a U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate. Payment requirements and procedures vary around the world so it's best to check with the local facility before showing up. U.S. Citizens living in Canada may use form DS-82 and apply by mail.