Study abroad office advises students to renew passports as soon as possible

Anusha Lalani

U.S. citizens are advised to renew their passports as soon as possible because the State Department is expecting an influx of people seeking to renew expired passports.

Students at UT who are partaking in the study abroad program know how essential it is to proactively renew passports, especially before it is time to travel internationally. The International Office at the University provides students as well as the general public passport renewal services as well as study abroad and ESL programs.

Zoila Acevedo, a passport associate at UT’s International Office, said the average number of people at the office increases during peak traveling seasons, so it is important for people to come early.

“All spring is going to be busy,” Acevedo said. “We’re expecting at least 50 applicants a day. Spring break we’re expecting 75 a day. We might even have to have a cutoff.”

Study abroad peer adviser John Paul Napleton, who has gone through the study abroad program twice, said the best way to stay ahead is to renew your passport as soon as you decide to travel.

“If you’re considering going abroad, whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate, do it right then and there so you don’t have to worry about it,” Napleton, an international and global studies and public relations senior, said.

Passport renewal costs $147, which includes a $25 processing fee and $12 photo fee, according to John Vernon, passport office manager.

The expediting process costs a bit more but allows people to get their passports quicker, Vernon said. “Expediting is an additional $60,” Vernon said. “So it’s 2–3 weeks [versus the normal 4–6 weeks], but during the peak season, which is from now to July, it takes the full 3 weeks. Anyone can apply here; it’s open to general public, you just have to have the right documents to apply for a passport,” Vernon said. 

Government senior Andy Cerecero, who is also a study abroad peer advisor, said although the renewal process can be tough, covering the cost of renewal is more difficult.

“The thing for me specifically is being able to gather enough funds to be able to renew it because renewing the passport costs just as much as buying the passport initially,” Cerecero said. “It may not seem a lot to an established, working adult, but being a college student, that’s like an entire paycheck that I have to use up for that.”