Passport Awareness Month: Top 5 Tips for renewing your U.S. Passport!

September is Passport Awareness Month in the United States, so we’d like to share some tips for renewing your U.S. passport!  The U.S. Embassy Dublin processed over six thousand passport applications in 2016, and we expect this number to rise considerably in 2017.  Ten years ago in 2007, over 18 million U.S. passports were issued worldwide due to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.  The majority of these passports were valid for ten years, which means that there is a significant surge in passport renewals this year.

We’ve taken on board the most common errors we see with passport renewal applications here at the U.S. Embassy Dublin, and want to share our top five tips to make your renewal process a bit easier!  Remember to renew your passport well in advance of your planned travel, to be aware of your passport’s expiry date, and keep a valid passport with at least six months’ validity at all times.

We encourage all U.S. citizens and Irish-U.S. dual nationals in Ireland to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): https://step.state.gov/.  This allows the U.S. Embassy Dublin to share safety and security messages with you via email, and to share information about our upcoming outreach visits nationwide – we may be visiting a town or city near you soon, which could save you a trip to Dublin!

Tip #1: RENEW BY MAIL!  If your previous passport was valid for 10 years, and was issued within the last 15 years, you can renew your passport by mail.  You are not required to come to the U.S. Embassy in Dublin to renew your passport.  Visit our passport renewal by mail webpage for more information.

TIP #2: INCLUDE POSTAGE!  Whether renewing your passport by mail or in person at the U.S. Embassy Dublin, you MUST include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your application.  It must include €9.00 postage (subject to current An Post express postal rates) as the passport needs to be mailed as Express post (next working day delivery).  This will allow us to return your passport to you right away once it arrives at the Embassy from the U.S. passport printing facility.

Tip #3: PHOTO SIZE!  A 2” x 2” photograph is required for your passport application – please note standard Irish passport photos are NOT accepted.  You may need to visit a pharmacy or photographer for the U.S.-sized photo as they are not available in most standard passport photo machines in Ireland.  Please visit our full passport photo instructions webpage for more information.  If the photo you submit does not meet the requirements, you will need to submit a new photo which may significantly delay the processing of your passport application.

Tip #4: RECENT PHOTO!  Your U.S. passport photo must be recent – taken within the last 6 months and not previously used in a passport application.  Glasses are not permitted to be worn in your passport photo.  Please visit our full passport photo instructions webpage for more information.  If the photo you submit does not meet the requirements, you will need to submit a new photo which may significantly delay the processing of your passport application.

Tip #5: PARENTAL CONSENT FOR MINOR PASSPORTS!  When renewing a minor passport  for a child under 16 years of age, please note that the child and both parents as listed on the child’s birth certificate must attend the prearranged appointment at the U.S. Embassy Dublin.  If one parent is unable to attend, the non-appearing parent can obtain a notarized consent form (DS-3053) , and attach a copy of their passport or driver’s license.  In Ireland, the consent form may be notarized by a notary listed on The Faculty of Notaries Public of Ireland or at the U.S. Embassy Dublin prior to the passport appointment.  A notary appointment is required for this service, and the service is provided free of charge at the Embassy.  One notarized consent form is required per child applicant, for each non-appearing parent.