Proposed rule would allow US passport holders to renew online

9 Aug 21

UNITED STATES

The U.S. State Department published a proposed rule today that would give qualified applicants the option of renewing their U.S. passports online.

Key Points:

  • Eligible applicants would have the option to apply online via MyTravelGov by filling out the application online, uploading a photo and paying the government fee via pay.gov.
  • Applicants must meet all eligibility requirements to use the Online Passport Renewal (OPR) system; otherwise, they must use the mail-in application process.
  • The OPR system will initially apply to individuals in the U.S., and later be rolled out to those applying from abroad.
  • The proposed rule is open to public comments until Oct. 8.

Additional Information: Currently, U.S. passport renewal applicants typically use the mail-in process, requiring applications to be initially processed through a lockbox and then sent to a passport agency or center for further processing. The proposed rule seeks to provide more flexibility for the renewal applicant; eliminate the physical application and lockbox processing times; and increase data quality, protection and traceability.

BAL Analysis: The rule should help streamline the renewal process for eligible U.S. passport holders. The State Department indicated that after the public comment period closes, it intends to publish the final rule “as expeditiously as possible.” Passport applicants are reminded that the Department is still seeing extended processing delays and should apply at least six months before planned travel. BAL will continue to monitor these developments and will provide updates as they become available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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