OH EM GEEE. Getting a passport for your little one could not be more complicated. There are SO MANY forms and official copies of things that you need. Mike was invited to go to Korea for a work-trip and although they gave us 3 weeks to plan, it was NOT enough time to get a passport for C by mail. What does that mean? You have rush everything, go in-person and wait in LONG ASS LINES. ugh.
I hope telling you about my experience will help you be more prepared and more able to get ish done in a timely matter. In fact, even if you have NO PLANS to travel yet, just get a freaking passport. It’ll take like 1 month and it lasts five years. Doing this without any rush makes the experience way more pleasant. I seriously thought I was going to have like 5 panic attacks, heart attacks and meltdowns. I was SOOOO high strung during the last two weeks that I think Mike got a few more white hairs. Eek.
ANWAYYYY…here are some tips to help you so that you don’t go through the same headache we did…
- Get your pictures taken in advance. There are tons of photo places and two pictures should cost between $8-$14. If you go to CVS, you can find a coupon for $3 off online.
- Make sure you have the right form.
- When filling out the forms, use BLACK INK. BLACK.
- You need originals AND copies of everything. Get it done before you apply. You need the child’s birth certificate, driver’s licenses from both parents, passports for both parents, marriage license (just in case your names are different or you need proof at a later time).
- Kids who are getting their passport for the first time must go in person. You can either wait in a very long line at a local post office or you can make an appointment at a local regent agency. But the local regent agencies require that you have proof of travel within two weeks. During a day when your little one is off from school, trek over to a local post office with books, snacks, electronics and get it done. Honestly, it’s a freaking pain in the ass but it’s so much better and easier to do with when you don’t have a time crunch. Plan for it by taking the afternoon/morning off. Because when you’re rushing at the regent agency and you’re leaving in three days…you want to DIE when they tell you, you are missing something. (b/c that happened to us!)
- Plan for the passports to take 6-8 weeks. You can do all sorts of rush shipping and rush processing, but it’s expensive. Getting a passport is like $110. If you’re in a rush and you don’t care about money, you could go through an online service but the passport can run $300-$600. Yikes. Planning ahead ensures that you will not pay those exorbitant fees.
If you’re rushing to get your passport (like we did), you can LITERALLY get it in 2 days or the same day. Although, same day is SUPER stressful and i would never recommend that. If you’re rushing here is what to do…
- Make an appointment ASAP. Try to get the earliest appointment in the day and in the two week time frame from your trip.
- Make sure you have your photos, the paperwork (in black ink), and originals & copies of all the important documents.
- If you don’t have a birth certificate for your babe, it’s VERY easy to go down to the county or city court house and get a new original copy of the birth certificate. In LA it’s $29.
- Have everything organized and ready to go in a folder to hand in. You need to have your appointment confirmation number on hand when you stand in line to go into the building and then again when you go into the passport appointment room.
- If you’re appointment is at 7am (which is what I recommend), you stand in line for about 30 minutes outside of the buildling before being cleared to go into the passport office. Since you and your partner need to be there with your little one, have one partner come a tiny bit later or let your little one run around during the long lines.
- Once you get clearance into the passport office, you have to stand in another line. If it’s 7am, then you don’t have a long line to stand in to check into the passport office. But if your appointment is 11am-12pm then man…the line inside is VERY long. Your little one for sure shouldn’t be there just yet.
- Here is the trickiest thing~ you wait in line to get into the building, then you wait in line to check into the passport office (where they check your paperwork) and if the check in clears you, you have to wait AGAIN in the waiting room. This whole waiting process can easily take 2 hours. So make sure to bring enough things to keep your little one occupied. The people are nice about letting you in and out of the room, but it’s a long day of waiting for your family.
- Post offices usually don’t take credit card, but the regent offices do take them.
- They keep the original birth certificate of your baby when they process the application, but they give it back when you pick up the passport.
- Once you have all your documents submitted they will give you a receipt and let you know when you can come pick it up. YOU MUST KEEP THAT RECEIPT!!!! You need it to pick up your passport. If another person is picking up the passport for you, you need to sign off on the receipt and give them a note with your signed permission.
- When you go and pick up the passport, there will be a time that you need to come by and you are not supposed to arrive any earlier. BUT YOU SHOULD. The line to pick up your passport is insanely long. Bring a book or a fully charged phone. If you are late…man oh man… Make sure you give yourselves 1-2 hours to pick up the passport.
I never want to go through this experience again. EVER. It was so stressful I thought I was either going to have a heart attack or die from anxiety. Next baby I’m going to take care of this passport while I’m on maternity leave so I have all the time in the world and NO TIME CRUNCH.
I hope this helps you all get passports for your little ones without all the headache and drama that we went through.