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December 22, 2014

Know Before You Go: Renew Your Passport

OSWEGO COUNTY - The Oswego County Clerk's Office joins the U.S. Department of State in reminding residents to be aware of the expiration date on their passports before traveling abroad.

"Many countries require travelers have at least 6 months of validity on their passports prior to their trip," said Oswego County Clerk Michael C. Backus. "Those who attempt to travel without meeting this provision may be detained and not allowed to board their flight.The requirement is a precautionary measure that helps people avoid travel delays and facilitates their return in the event that their trip is unexpectedly extended."

To ensure that your vacation doesn't become a "stay-cation," check the expiration date on your passport. If it will expire less than six months after your anticipated return, begin the renewal process now to prevent last-minute stress.

Travelers can renew their passports by mail only to the U.S. Department of State. They will need to submit a completed renewal application form (DS-82) along with their current or most recent passport book or card which was issued within the last 15 years.

They must also submit an official passport photo which is required to be printed in color on matte or glossy photo paper. It also needs to be 2" x 2" with the head measuring 1-3/8" from the top of the head to the bottom of the chin. The photo should have been taken within the last six months, in front of a plain white background, and with a full front view of the face with a neutral expression and both eyes open. Attach the photo to the application with four vertical staples in each corner as close to the edge as possible.

If the person's name is different than the one listed on their most recent passport, they must also submit the original or certified copy of their marriage certificate or other government-issued document showing the legal name change.

The application package must also include the appropriate fees. The standard passport renewal fee is $110 and processes the request in approximately four to six weeks. If an individual would like expedited service, there will be an additional $60 charge for the application to be processed in two to three weeks. It is also recommended that applicants seeking expedited service include an extra $14.85 for overnight return service of their passport.

These fees can be paid with a personal check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of State. The full name and date of birth of the applicant must be typed or printed on the front of the check.

For routine processing, people can send their application packages to: National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90155, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0155. For expedited processing, clearly write "EXPEDITE" on the envelope and mail to: National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90955, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0955

The package should be sent in an envelope large enough to fit the application without folding it to help protect its contents from the elements throughout the delivery process.

Applicants are also advised to request a trackable delivery method to confirm that the application package is received at its destination. These options include USPS Priority Mail with either delivery or signature confirmation or USPS Express Mail for overnight delivery requests.

For more information about renewing your passport, visit the U.S. Department of State's Web site at: www.travel.state.gov. To see the importance of a timely renewal application, check out their new video clip on YouTube: www.youtube.com.

The Oswego County Clerk's Office offers passport photo services for $15. The office is located at 46 E. Bridge St. in Oswego and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For details, call 315-349-8621.

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