Getting an American Passport

Apparently, despite reading my share of travel blogs, when it came to getting a passport, I wasn't as prepared as I thought I was.

If you will be applying for a passport in the near future, here's what you need to know:

1. Attempt to schedule an appointment early in the process, quite possibly before you get everything you need together. If you live in a city, your local post office may make you wait a month or longer before actually letting you apply for the passport. Also, note that there are extra fees if you need the passport sooner than the 4-6 week waiting period.

a. Not every post office schedules appointments to get a passport. In fact, some places like the courthouse, allow you to simply walk-in. Other places (post offices) don't schedule appointments or let you apply at all through them. If you walk into a post office that doesn't do passports, ask if they have a list of nearby post offices that do do passports. (Apparently, the list online isn't always up to date.)

b. If you try to call to schedule an appointment to get your passport, make sure to call during the correct hours, which vary between post offices. Usually, you should be able to call during the week between 10AM-2PM, but like I said, it can vary. If you call and leave a message, they may or may not call you back. It is best to try again if you don't get in touch with someone right away. (Even better if you can walk in and make your appointment.)

c. Most post offices schedule their appointments during the week in late morning and early afternoon. You'll need to check with your individual post office to find out if they also do early Saturday morning if you can't get off of work during the week.

2. On the day of your appointment take the following:

a filled out application (can be obtained online or at post offices that do passport appointments)

a copy of your individual driver's license front and back on a full sheet of paper (Don't do yours and your significant other's on the same sheet.)

a personal check or money order including the fee for the passport card and/or book, and post office fee (Some places take credit cards. We took cash, and the post office was able to convert it to a money order.)

a 'long-form' birth certificate that includes your name, birth date, as well as your parents' names (These can be obtained at some courthouses, some health departments, and at the Vital Records Office for a fee of $25.)

a face shot (taken at Costco, CVS, Walgreens, or even the post office...)

If you have everything together, you should be fine. I had the short birth certificate form, because I didn't know otherwise. Luckily, the kind lady at the post office stayed late enough for me to run to the courthouse and obtain my birth certificate long-form (an hour away!). We also scanned our licenses on one sheet rather than two meaning the lady had to go back and rescan them! Luckily, we are done with all of that! Now time to wait.

Suitcases and Sandcastles
Linking up with Oregon Girl Around the World,

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