Monday, 21 January 2008
How (not) to get an Infant's US Passport in 27 Easy Steps
- Visit www.travel.state.gov/passport and attempt to find the right forms.
- Download and print same. Fill out all information.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take off from work, as this (now by appointment only) facility operates 9am-4:45pm M-F.
- 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.
- Wait. Note our scheduled time passing. Watch attendant at "Passport Acceptance Facility" go on break.
- Grind teeth. Change diaper. Sing goofy song.
- Walk calmly to window once we are waved over.
- Discover that "photo on site" does not apply to squirmy infants, and besides, the camera isn't working.
- Picture international destination and find happy place.
- Discover that we missed two forms. Get sent away.
- Return 5 seconds later to ask if, since both parents were present This Time, we would both need to Take Off Work next time.
- Shrivel in Glare of Employee.
- 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.
- Leave Passport Acceptance Facility, tuck baby into car seat. Jump up and down and scream.
- Go to Wal-Mart and pay $5 for "Official Passport Photo" of blurry baby.
- Return home, take digital photo, size it according to this how-to for professional passport photographers.
- Print photo at neighbor's house on neighbor's photo printer. Neighbor happens to be a notary. Get notarized form just in case.
- Return to Passport Acceptance Facility and beg to be seen again. With success.
- Have form and photo accepted with departure date clearly marked. Thank employee from bottom of heart.
- 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.
- Watch and hold squirmy baby while all items are sent to State Department via the US Postal Service.
- Check status of passport online
- 2 months later - passport success! Good for five years, with photo of squirmy baby.
- 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.
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