Have you ever been traveling while your passport is about to expire? Do you know how to renew your U.S. passport if you are traveling or living abroad? I will explain the answer to these questions and more.
First, passports are required for international travel. As an American, you cannot travel internationally without one. Once issued, American Passports have 10 years before they expire and you have will have to renew at that time.
U.S. Passports also become void if they run out of pages. These are the pages inside a passport that are used by immigration offices to record when you enter and exit a country. I got my last passport, originally in 2006 when I was planning a trip to Chile, South America to do a NOLS course for a semester.
At the time, I was living in Seattle, WA and paid an expedited fee to have my passport processed faster. Even though I paid the expedited fee, it took roughly 8 weeks to get it back and I was nervous as I was getting close to my departure date.
Additionally, there are many countries that do not allow you to enter the country if you do not have 6 months left before your passport expires. At the time of writing this post, my current passport expires on July 26, 2016 so I would have six months left in February of 2016.
I did not want to wait until it got close to February 2016 so I decided to apply for a new American visa. Fortunately, as an American you can do that at any American embassy while traveling abroad.
Where To Apply For An American Passport?
At the time that I was researching “US passport renewal Chiang Mai,” I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. If you are looking to renew your American passport while traveling or living abroad, you will need to go to the closest American Consulate or Embassy. If you are not sure where the closest U.S. embassy or consulate is, then you can go to the U.S. Embassy website.
On the site there is an interactive map in which you can select the region of the world that you are in and a list of corresponding cities that have a U.S. embassy will appear. Following, you will need to go to that particular embassies website to learn more about the services that they offer and potentially make an appointment.
Before making an appointment, you will need to complete the online passport application form. Alternatively, you can print out the form and fill it out manually. Here is a link to the Passport Application.
You can find the beginning of the online passport application form on this page here. The application is not associated with any particular embassy as it is a general passport application. The form takes a while to complete so make sure that you have a sufficient amount of time to complete it.
You will also need a passport photo that is 2 X 2 inches in dimension and fits the requirements specified on the application.
After you finish the passport application form, you will get a notification page that you completed the form and you will need to print off the application. The next step is to make an appointment at the local embassy. In my case, I went to the Chiang Mai Consulate website to make an appointment.
After going to the consulate homepage you need to hover over “U.S. Citizen Services” and click on “Appointments For Routine Service.” Following, this will take you to a new page in which you need to scroll down until you see the heading, “How To Make An Appointment?” Click on the hyperlink “ACS Appointment Website.”
You will be able to manage your appointment through this online portal. It is a very simple and straight-forward process. Answer the questions and then select the best appointment date that works for you.
There will be a calendar that displays with the days and available times. Once you have completed the appointment, do not forget to print out the appointment page which you must present when you go in for your appointment.
Once you have filled out your passport application and made an appointment then you are ready to go!
Where Is The Chiang Mai U.S. Consulate General?
Fortunately, the Chiang Mai Consulate is centrally located in Chiang Mai right outside the old city. The consulate is on the corner and the address is 387 , Witchayanon Road , Chang Moi , 50300 Mueang Chiang Mai , Chiang Mai, Thailand. The entrance is on Witchayanon road and is on the right side of the road before you approach a roundabout with a large white citadel in the center and then the Ping River.
You will be able to speak with a consulate representative to present your application and pay the renewal fee of $110 USD. The passport is not processed at the consulate but mailed and processed in the U.S and then sent back to the consulate for you to pick-up.
The consulate representative said that the turn-around for processing can be as quick as 2 weeks. I laughed inside when I heard that because my last “expedited” passport took 8 weeks in the states. Please note that I did not pay an expedited fee for my passport this time.
The consulate will contact you via email when your passport is ready to pick-up. Unbelievably, my passport was ready for pick-up in 2 weeks. Magic. The consulate representative said that foreign applications tend to be processed faster. “Yea, no kidding,” I thought to myself.
Sweet! Now, I do not have to worry about getting a new passport until my 10 year expiration date or when I run out of passport pages. I am sure that I will run out of pages before my passport expires. Stay tuned for a post on “how to add passport pages to your U.S. passport.”