In preparation for our upcoming overseas travel we had to get a passport for our youngest daughter. We learned a few tricks the last time we had to get a passport for a wee one- tips that definately saved us time the second time around. (The following tips for first-time applications only)
- Save time at the passport processing center by filling out your application online and printing at home.
- If the person needing the passport is under 2-years-old you cannot get the photo done at the passport processing center (or Walgreens or similar place) as the camera they use will “white out” a small child. Call local photography studios and ask if they do passport photos. If they don’t they can point you to someone who does. It’s relatively inexpensive.
- Make sure to take the correct documentation. You must provide a certified birth certificate (it will be sent in with the application and returned to you with the passport) and both parents must accompany the child to the processing center. If both parents can’t accompany the child there are lots of hoops to jump through. It’s easiest if you both go. Be sure to have your valid drivers licenses or state issued ID.
- Take a checkbook. There are over 9000 passport acceptance facilities, but most cannot accept the fees for the US Department of State. So you will write one check to the US Department of State and pay the execution fee to the acceptance facility.
- Fees: Age 16 and older: The passport application fee is $67. The execution fee is $30. The total is $97 . Under Age 16: The passport application fee is $52. The execution fee is $30. The total is $82 . The passport application fee includes the $12.00 Security Surcharge, which became effective March 8, 2005.
- When you get the passport you will see that it requires a signature. Of course your small child can’t sign his/her passport. What you will do is sign like this: Child’s Full Name by Paren’t Full Name (mother/father). In Caelan’s case it looks like this: Caelan Aibhlinn Hxxxxxx by Jody Lynn Hxxxxxx (mother).
- Make sure you fill out the emergency contact information in pencil. And make sure it’sup to date every time you use it.
Thankfully the passport backups that plagued early 2007 are through and it took about three weeks for Caelan’s to come through. The “official” time is 5 weeks, although I prefer to give them three months- just to be safe.
And if you haven’t gotten a new passport recently let me tell you that there are some changes you will notice. The pages are no longer blank, but include pictures of national symbols and landmarks along with some great quotes. Obviously not necessary changes but beautiful and inspiring.