Linda’s Experience Renewing Her U.S. Passport in Playa del Carmen

Photo source: iStockphoto

Over the years, Linda and I have both renewed our passports a few times while living in the U.S. but this was the first time that either of us has had to renew since moving to Mexico.

It was fast and easy to do, but since the procedure differed a little bit from how we did it in the States (i.e. just mailing it in), I thought I would do a quick post on it. That way those readers who are interested can learn about how it works and I can easily find the information next year when it’s time to renew my U.S. passport.


If you’re outside of the U.S. (with the exception of Canada), you’re going to have to make an appointment at a U.S. Embassy, Consulate or Consular Agency to renew.

We’re lucky because there’s a U.S. Consular Agency only 25 minutes north of where we live in Playa del Carmen. Linda contacted them to make an appointment and they subsequently emailed her all the procedures for renewal. Here they are in their entirety:

Warning- the next part is a little long and boring, so feel free to skip to the next section if you’re not that interested in the details at this time.

From the U.S. Consular Agency

Our public office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 am to 1 pm, except for US and Mexican holidays. Our NEW office is located in Plaza Progreso in Playa del Carmen, on the 2nd floor. This is a newer commercial plaza on the Federal Highway in Playa del Carmen, that is just south of CostaMed Hospital.

Please fill out each form COMPLETELY before your appointment. Please make sure to write down your social security number and please note that in the mailing address you have to provide a local Mexican address.

In the permanent address box, page 2, you can list an address in the U.S. if you have one, or “same as mailing” if it is the same. Forms that may apply to your case are attached. If there is a line item that does not apply to your case please fill in the space with N/A so that it is clear to the adjudicating officer that you read the question and decided it did not apply to your case.

Once your complete application package has been accepted by our office, it will be sent to our supervisory post, the U.S. Consulate General in Merida for adjudication, and if approved, it will be electronically sent to the United States for further processing. In most cases total processing time is 2-3 weeks, so we recommend that you plan your travel accordingly.

Please see the Standard Adult Renewal Requirements requirements below:

·         DS 82 – Application for Renewal for Eligible Individuals (Attached; Filled out and Signed before appointment)
·         One US Size Passport Photo taken within the last six months (5cm X 5cm, color, front-facing w/ white background.You cannot be wearing glasses and you cannot be smiling in your photo (have a neutral expression)
·         Most Recent U.S. Passport and a copy of the photo page.
If your passport is not currently valid, we will need another form of VALID, official ID (if available) and a copy.
·         Passport Fee – $110 USD and if US Passport Card is also desired an additional $30 USD (Exact Change is required in Dollars or the equivalent in pesos, or payment by most major Credit Cards). The current exchange rate is 20 MXP to 1 USD, subject to change without notice.
·         Prepaid Fedex envelope and a label (guia y sobre prepagados) with tracking number so your new passport can be sent to your home directly from Merida.  FedEx may require customers to pick-up the package at their nearest FedEx location if the address is too remote.

To obtain the pre-paid waybill with envelope the customer must request the Kit Consulado. In Playa del Carmen, please go to the Fedex office located at Av 12 bis con av 20 norte esquina , attached to the ADO bus station.  You can also get this prepaid label at the UPS office located in Calle 45 and Juarez (by the gas station). If you choose to get this service at UPS, provide a zip code for Merida, 97050, for the sender’s information. For the receiver’s information, please provide the address where you would like to receive your U.S. passport. WE CANNOT RECEIVE YOUR PASSPORT AT THE CONSULAR AGENCY

Actually Getting It Done

The day before the appointment, we went to Playa del Carmen to get Linda’s passport photos and the required prepaid envelope from FedEx. The photos were $300 pesos (about $15 USD) and the Fedex envelope was $502 pesos (about $25 USD).

The passport renewal fee was $110 USD.

On the day of the appointment, we arrived a little early — which we always do — but we were the only people in the place, so we were attended to immediately. We were done in about 10 minutes.

The passport arrived 13 days later via FedEx. Very impressive!

Let’s Wrap This Up

I really expected this to take longer and I was planning on using it as an excuse to save some money because Linda loves to travel. I could have said, “Honey, I would love to travel to [insert foreign destination] but unfortunately, we’re still waiting on your passport.”

I didn’t get to use that excuse even once, and yesterday I caught her looking at flights to Argentina. Thanks a lot, Uncle Sam.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico ( to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

21 Comments on "Linda’s Experience Renewing Her U.S. Passport in Playa del Carmen"

  1. Ingrid C Royle | October 1, 2019 at 10:23 am |

    Haha very funny but great that I went so smoothly.

  2. My wife and I renewed ours seperately in PDC this summer however since we live in Cozumel it’s a bit of a trek. It was very easy and got ours back in less thime than when doing it in the US (10-11 calendar days from PDC) . We noticed the taxi drivers in PDC charge less than in Cozumel and were consistent in their pricing. Getting a taxi from the plaza is a bit more complicated since they come out of town with passengers. I waited 10 mintues on the plaza side in the heat for one but the next time with two blondes – my wife and a friend, we waited about 1 minute. hmm. There is also a good restaurant across the street , La Parroquia de Veracruz. Lots of traffic to cross though.

  3. Thanks for the info! Ours are good for a long time but it is always helpful to know current procedures – you never know when it will come in handy!

  4. Looks like Argentina is in your near future! Once again, thanks for the great information.

  5. DORA SOHNLEIN | October 1, 2019 at 10:47 am |

    Hello, yes we went through the same experience with the renewal of our passports…. As you said, we were done (2 passports) in less than 10 minutes and…. we got the new ones exactly at the time we were told… Fantastic….
    By the way, we are from Argentina.. Enjoy your trip… I don’t know your itinerary, but don’t leave without exploring the country entirety.. Every area is beautiful..North, East, West and South…..and of course don’t forget to visit the tip of the continent, Lakes, Glaziers, etc..
    go to some Tango classes. BUEN VIAJE!! Dora Sohnlein..from Argentina/USA and Mexico now.

  6. We have renewed two Passports in Mexico. One while we were living in Puerto Escondido, and one while living in Motul. The first required only two trips to Oaxaca City to the Consul there and the Passport was done in Mexico City. It took less than a week! Second, here in Motul for me with basically the same as you outline above. Quick, efficient and simple. Did not have to go back or anything. Excellent service for us ExPats! Always try to start the process a month before it expires. For Goodness Sakes, NEVER let them expire any more. My Sister in LA and her husband allowed theirs to expire and she had to get all kinds of paperwork to show legal name changes by marriage, and even Birth Certificates. Huge 6 month hassle.

  7. James McConnell | October 1, 2019 at 11:10 am |

    I renewed my Canadian passport last year in Playa, no appointment, walked into the consulate with photos, filled in the form, they process it right there. Had my new one in a week. So easy .

  8. Donna Waguespack | October 1, 2019 at 11:33 am |

    We used to be able to do the same as James McConnell, walk into the American embassy and go to a general office, fill out form and voila! But several years ago they changed everything to having to get an appointment online before going in. NOT convenient and doesn{t always work thought they think it does.

  9. Jeffrey Nash | October 1, 2019 at 11:50 am |

    We highly recommend a trip to Buenas Aires and Iguazu Falls for you and your wife. We loved the time we spent there last winter.

  10. Steve Granger | October 1, 2019 at 11:52 am |

    Great post. One question I had though…where do you get your passport mailed to? I have not heard good things about the mail system there, not sure if that is an issue with FedEx as well. Thanks in advance!

  11. Speaking of passports, I was wondering if anyone else has had problems with the passport card.
    Hypothetically, the card should be all one needs if traveling in Canada or Mexico when entering by water or land. I have had banks in Q. Roo not recognize it last year. Good thing I entered by air, so had the book passport as well, or I would have been in a pickle! I used to drive down with just the card in past years but usually just in Baja. Maybe that is that makes a difference. Anyways, campers beware!

  12. Robert Martin | October 1, 2019 at 3:07 pm |

    I have always used the US Consulate in Merida. Very fast with very helpful employees. I found that surprising from US Government employees. I even lost mine once. They insisted on giving me a temporary one but the actual one arrived promptly. Impressive

  13. At Ajijic and Chapels the US representatives come from the Guadajara Cosulate once a month and the following month bring back the renewal passport..a great service

  14. Hola! Which FedEx branch in playa did you use for the prepaid envelope?

    • Fedex office located at Av 12 bis con av 20 norte esquina , attached to the ADO bus station.

  15. Will U.S. Embassies in Mexico renew your passport if there is still 6 months left before it expires?

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