I just saw that my trusty passport was expiring soon, and decided that since I wasn’t doing any immediate travel, to renew it now. It was my first passport and had a bunch of stamps from my travels to Europe, New Zealand and so forth. But time marches on so I dropped my new photo, the old passport and the form into the mail. A few things:
1. The website seem to direct you towards getting a cheaper “passport card” that looks like a drivers license. It’s faster to get and cheaper, but if you read the fine print you find it is ONLY good for traveling in/out of the country by land. It won’t work for any air travel. My guess is that’s because there are lots of commuters between Canada/Mexico and US. But the not-good-for-flights restriction isn’t immediately clear – so beware and dig around for the normal renewal.
2. It only took about 2-3 weeks to get my passport with the regular mail-in service (not expedited) – much faster than I anticipated. They mailed my new passport (which has new RFID embedded in it and a much nicer/glossier/protected photo page). A day later, I got a brown, unmarked envelope with my old passport in it. They’d punched a hole in my photo page to void it – but I had all my old stamps. Cool.