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Distant Lands

Monday, 21 January 2008

How (not) to get an Infant's US Passport in 27 Easy Steps

  1. Visit www.travel.state.gov/passport and attempt to find the right forms.
  2. Download and print same.  Fill out all information.
  3. Read and re-read the special information for minors applying for passport.  Wonder if it is sleep deprivation or if some of this is really confusing.
  4. Locate one of the "over 9,000 Passport Acceptance Facilities" by clicking the tiny link halfway down the page somewhere in there to go to http://iafdb.travel.state.gov/ and put in our zip code.
  5. Take off from work, as this (now by appointment only) facility operates 9am-4:45pm M-F.
  6. Pile into car with husband, infant, birth certificate*, all 3 Social Security cards*, forms, wallet, check, and our passports.  No photos, because this facility has "photo on site" clearly displayed.
  7. Wait.
  8. Wait. Note our scheduled time passing.  Watch attendant at "Passport Acceptance Facility" go on break.
  9. Grind teeth.  Change diaper.  Sing goofy song.
  10. Walk calmly to window once we are waved over.
  11. Discover that "photo on site" does not apply to squirmy infants, and besides, the camera isn't working.
  12. Picture international destination and find happy place.
  13. Discover that we missed two forms.  Get sent away.
  14. Return 5 seconds later to ask if, since both parents were present This Time, we would both need to Take Off Work next time.
  15. Shrivel in Glare of Employee.
  16. Discover we need a notarized form signifying that the Non-Present Parent agreed to the passport issuance, despite the fact that the future Non-Present Parent was prepared to swear to same While He was Present.
  17. Leave Passport Acceptance Facility, tuck baby into car seat.  Jump up and down and scream.
  18. Go to Wal-Mart and pay $5 for "Official Passport Photo" of blurry baby.
  19. Return home, take digital photo, size it according to this how-to for professional passport photographers.
  20. Print photo at neighbor's house on neighbor's photo printer.  Neighbor happens to be a notary.  Get notarized form just in case.
  21. Return to Passport Acceptance Facility and beg to be seen again.  With success.
  22. Have form and photo accepted with departure date clearly marked. Thank employee from bottom of heart.
  23. Discover that two different checks are required.  Root around in purse and find miraculous floating blank check.  Sign all money in bank account over to Passport Office.
  24. Watch and hold squirmy baby while all items are sent to State Department via the US Postal Service. 
  25. Check status of passport online
  26. 2 months later - passport success!  Good for five years, with photo of squirmy baby.
  27. Consider that passport renewal process will need to begin again in a few years. Find happy place.

*Birth Certificate and Social Security card were obtained in advance via much less circuitous route.  No parents were harmed in the process.
Posted in Americas : Infant by Fran W. at 10:01 AMPermalink

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