Happy passporting!

us-passport
Who knows? You may actually receive a little booklet that looks just like this!

Late last summer, our family was at the local USPS to (finally!) get passports for the four of us, and oh yes, it was government at its finest! I just don’t know if you could find more inefficiency. Oh wait, I believe the four and a half hour wait at the DMV a few years ago simply to renew my drivers license tops this passport application experience, but I digress.

I am going to provide the real steps for applying for a passport. And you won’t find this easy 20-step guide on any of the government web pages.

Step 1. Gather all (applicable) birth certificates, drivers licenses, proof of citizenship, marriage license, previous passports, etc. etc. <–pretty much everything in your filing cabinet

Step 2. Make copies of everything gathered in Step 1, and make two copies of your drivers license. <–We already had one copy of our DLs and for only $1 a copy–such a deal!–they charged us to make an additional copy. ?

Step 3. Fill out every field you possibly can on the electronic (or paper) application form. <–Even if the internet form entry does not require a certain field (e.g., middle name), fill it in anyway. We wasted a lot of time during our appointment manually filling in what the website lets you skip. Because why would I want to give the US government more information about my family than necessary? Yes, I know, I’m sure they already know more about us than we know about ourselves. But still.

Step 4. Print out several copies of your completed forms.

Step 5. Have a paper form of payment for each application. Example, if you are going to be presenting four applications, ensure you have four checks or four money orders. <–I doubt they take cash; I don’t see them stapling paper money onto the application, because that’s what they do with the paper check or money order. I only had two paper checks–because I didn’t read a handy guide such as this one!–so we used those on the boys’ applications, and Gerald and I had to purchase two money orders for our applications. How convenient that the USPS sells money orders! Hmm…

Step 6. Have a form of payment for any non-passport application items <–Say you want to have them do the passport photos there and/or you want to purchase a book of stamps while you’re there which I forgot to do (WHILE I WAS RIGHT THERE).

Step 7. Probably take your passport photos on your own or go anywhere somewhere else and bring them to the passport office. <–We figured having the USPS office take the photos right there would be more convenient. Um… no.

Step 8. Make an appointment at wherever place it is that does passport application processing in your area. <–Note this step can pretty much go anywhere in here from Step 1 before you hit Step 9. Just be prepared, my thirsty friends.

Step 9. Go to your appointment. <–And don’t be late!

Step 10. Wait.

Step 11. Wait.

Step 12. Wait

Step 13. Wait.

Step 14.  Do everything you need to do – hand over paperwork (hopefully to be seen again), sign and swear (take that however you want), hand over payment, etc..

Step 15. Leave your appointment a little lighter <–You’re out some serious bucks, and you’re missing some of your originals. Some of your original documents (yes, birth certificates, naturalization papers) get sent to the US Department of State along with your application form. Thankfully, they do hand you back your drivers license.

Step 16. Make sure you have your drivers license before driving out of the parking lot.

Step 17. Leave.

Step 18. Wait.

Step 19. Wait.

Step 20. …

You’re welcome.

–kd

16 thoughts on “Happy passporting!”

    1. I believe a recollection of you writing some passport guidelines as well. Nice to know government inefficiency exists across the globe (not that Canada is across the globe but you know what I mean). 🙂

  1. It’s a good thing they let you keep your driver’s license. For a while I was without one but had a passport. You’d be astounded how hard it can be to buy alcohol when your only form of ID is a passport. Once I was told, “We don’t take those.” I replied, “Do you take dollars? Because they come from the same place.”

    1. I thought a passport was the be all end all in regards to identification. That sounds like ignorance on the part of the retailer/server. But I’m positive that ignorance is abundant. Duh… what is this booklet thingee? This wasn’t in the employee handbook. Now I feel I’m being too harsh as I’d probably end up doing this same thing!

  2. Our local DMV/BMV won’t accept a passport as a form of ID. -.- As a travel agent I have the privilege of helping people apply for passports so that they can get a better deal on an all-inclusive package out of our country. SMH Don’t get me wrong. I love helping people playing to enjoy their vacation time. I do not enjoy governmental ineptitude. I prefer our local auto title to the USPS for several reasons.

  3. Not to be a Pollyanna (because it’s certainly not my nature), but did you get these passports to go somewhere fun, at least?

    1. We at least wanted to have out of country as an option for vacation so yes, the passports were obtained for fun. 🙂

    1. I didn’t include how the state department had to have been messing with me when they mailed me something that said I didn’t include my “permanent” address in the application. Um pretty sure I did (since I filled out all our applications the same!!). Fun times when the govt jacks with you.

  4. When we got my son’s passport I think he was almost two. He didn’t want to stand still for the photo and the end result was that a TINY bit edge of his hand was up in the air next to the EDGE of the photo. It could easily have been croppped away. The person at AAA where we had the photos made said it wouldn’t be a problem; that the photo would be cropped down further. Liars. When we got to our passport appointment the tiny bit of hand showing was a deal killer. We had to go back to AAA and get a new photo and then back to the post office again. Such fun. Of course we haven’t yet used his passport and it’s probably due to expire so we’ll have to do this all over again soon ( I think kids’s passports are only good for five years). Yipee! At least he’s old enough to take a normal photo now.

    1. That’s ridiculous yet not surprising in the least. I didn’t include all the trials with our appointment. For instance, kids don’t always think about how important it is to “go” one last time before leaving the house. Hello? The USPS has no public facilities. It’s no wonder my kid didn’t get charged with indecent exposure when he went outside to use a bush. Bawhahaha!

    1. No smile for you! It went against everything I had not to smile for the photo. The result is an inevitable RBF (resting bitch face)!

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