Whether you or Uncle Sam messed something up along the way during the process of applying for, renewing or printing your U.S. passport, correcting an incorrect date of birth is pretty simple and can be done at no cost to you. Well, as long as you don't need to spring for expedited processing. It normally takes four to six weeks to get a reprinted passport issued with a correction – the same as it takes for original issuance or a renewal – but you can pay about $60 to get the document within two to three weeks if necessary. If you make the change request within one year of the original issuance, the reprinted passport remains valid for 10 years after it's reissued; if the request comes in more than a year after the original issuance, the original expiration date stands.

Passport Correction Paperwork

The U.S. Department of State website has a page dedicated to passport forms – conveniently called "Passport Forms." Less specific, however, are the names of the forms. Print out the one that goes by DS-5504. It's used for a variety of passport corrections, including a change to the date of birth. Unfortunately, there's not just a line that asks what's wrong in the existing passport and what it should read (though there is a section for this at the end). Fill out all the biographical and travel information the form asks for, and don't forget to sign it.

It's Picture Time Again

The State Department always likes to see the most current you possible. Whenever you do just about anything having to do with a passport, like renewing by mail or just making a minor correction to the printed date of birth, a passport picture taken within the past six months is required. Obtain it from a professional passport picture provider to ensure it meets all the very specific passport photo guidelines. If the picture isn't 2 inches by 2 inches and printed in color on glossy or matte photo paper with a white or off-white background, the paperwork gets rejected. Also, if your head isn't shown straight on, if your expression doesn't look natural enough, if you're wearing any accessories, or if your head from top to chin measures less than 1 inch long or more than 1 3/8 inches long, boom – rejected! Attach the picture to Form DS-5504.

Send It Off

If you're not requesting expedited processing, send the passport correction request to the National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90107, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0107 via the U.S. Postal Service or a delivery service provider that can ship to a post office box. If you are paying to have the corrected passport rushed, find the current expedited processing fee on the Department of State website and enclose a check or money order in that amount, made out to the U.S. Department of State. For expedited processing, mail the correction form to the National Passport Processing Center, P.O. Box 90907, Philadelphia, PA 19190-0907. Write "Expedite" on the envelope exterior.