Something I had to do recently was get my passport renewed while I was living in China…this was daunting to me. Just the idea of potentially having to be without my passport while being abroad just freaked me out to no end. Now that it’s all been taken care of I can report that the process wasn’t difficult at all…and if I’m being honest I ended up getting my new passport much quicker in China than it would have taken in the States.
So…first up if you need to renew your US passport in China (I can also report that it seemed to be an easy process both for British and Irish co-workers…not too keen on all those details but they seemed to go through the process with the same ease I experienced) you will need to look up where the nearest US Consulate. Luckily for me, where I live in China is about a 1 hour train ride to Shanghai, not too bad. Now it is recommended on the website that you should make an appointment. I can say I got lost en route (ended up going to the British Consulate) and was about an hour late to my appointment and it seemed to make no difference. Here’s some info I got from the Shanghai US Consulate’s web page.
As far as the actual process of applying for the passport renewal it was pretty easy. I went ahead and filled out the form ahead of time and even brought pictures but unfortunately they weren’t the right sizing. The Consulate directed me to a nearby camera store where I was able to get photos printed out within about 20 minutes. From what I remember you had to pay with cash (RMB or USD) or use a Visa or Mastercard. Here’s info from the website on what you will need for the application process.
The whole process took about 2 weeks from application to picking up the new passport. This is much faster than if I had applied to get my passport renewed back in the States! I applied at the Consulate on Monday May 8 and on Tuesday May 16 I received an email saying I could come pickup my new passport. Another great bonus was that I was able to keep my current passport while waiting for the new one. This is extremely helpful in China where you use your passport while using the trains. For picking up the new passport you didn’t need to make an appointment so long as you could be there between the hours of 8:00 am and 11:30 am.
I have to say for something that I worried about the whole process wasn’t too bad at all! Also when filling out the form for the passport renewal, make sure to check the box that you want the passport with the extra pages, it doesn’t cost extra and you never know when you will need those extra visa pages. This whole process could have been avoided if I had done that 4 years ago when I got my old passport.