I had to renew my passport recently. I had to follow the instructions on the BLS website. Though most of the instructions on the website are pretty straightforward, I will use this post to give you additional information which will keep the process as painless as possible.
If you are planning to use the postal service for passport renewal. The one important pointer I will give you here is to call their customer service before you fill the BLS Order Form. When you call them they will offer you to give the prepaid shipping label. The cost would be around $30. I would recommend you to use this service. They will give you the information needed for the BLS order form specifically the Airway Bill No. for both sending and returning your passport. They will send the prepaid shipping label to your email. All you have to do is collect all your documents and take the prepaid shipping label and the documents to your nearest UPS store (they are using UPS at the time of this post). It usually takes 3-4 weeks for sending and getting your new passport back.
You will need to collect all the documents needed for your particular case. Documents may be vary depending on your situation for eg: married folks may need the documents pertaining to their spouse.
Notarizing your documents can be done at your bank. I used DCU for notarizing my documents. DCU will do notarization, even if you don’t have an account with them. They did it free of charge. Other credit union may offer similar services. Please call ahead to avoid wasting your time. I also heard your local town hall may do notarization. UPS also offers notarization services which may cost you and they are expensive.
You can get your passport photos done at any local pharmacy. UPS and Fedex also offers passport photo services. AAA also offers discounted passport photo services. If you are a gold member, the first 2 photos will be free. I needed 4 passport photos for my case, you may need more. Please refer their website for your photo requirements.
BLS has also started a passport service, which seems very convenient. Call their customer service for more information.
I would suggest you to get a money order from USPS. I think they charge the least for a money order
Cashier’s Check can you cost you up-to $10 at your bank.