Individuals planning to travel abroad need a valid passport to enter most foreign countries for work or pleasure. As some governments require that a passport be valid for six months or more before entering their country, it's important to submit an application for renewal months in advance.
Passports are valid for 10 years for U.S. citizens who are at least 16 years old when they received the passport. The U.S. State Department recommends beginning the passport renewal process six to nine months before its expiration date.
Minors 15 years old and under have a passport expiration date of five years from the date of issue. Parents or legal guardians of the minor must sign for the passport in person.
If a person is expected to travel overseas soon and their passport is expired, they may apply for an expedited passport to receive a new passport in as little as two or three weeks. Additional fees will apply and may include overnight shipping costs.
The expiration date on a passport is located in the information or data section of the passport. The data page will include information about the bearer and the issue date of the passport as well.
Applications for passport renewal may be done in person at a local post office, courthouse or at a U.S. Passport Agency. Applicants may also apply by mail. Application forms may be found at a local passport agency, online at the U.S. Department of State website or by calling The National Passport Information Center at (888) 874-7793.
Jeannie Knudson is an avid traveler with a love for the written word. She has been a freelance writer for over 15 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from the University of Northern Iowa. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experiences on eHow and Travels.com.