It can be fun reading about another person’s misery. So here is some fun for you.
I leave on a trip next saturday to Canada and Alaska. I’m going with the kids and my brothers and dad. Getting the kids’ passports has been a long slow trip through hell.
First, the boys. I filled out the forms and got the papers and money order. I was dumb enough not to realize (and it’s not spelled out) that the kids have to be with you when you apply. So, that’s the first trip. Then, it turns out I have the wrong birth certificates (you need the LONG FORM, not the SHORT FORM), and I have to have a separate money order for each kid. Also, the photos I had taken off Ben aren’t good enough. I took care of the photos and birth certificates and money orders, and got it right. Of course, I had to pay the expidite fee by that time.
As for the girl, she already had a passport. But we couldn’t find it. Then I found it! And it was expired. More paperwork and birth certificate. I got her mother’s notarized signature as the required sign off for the passport. But it turns out, there’s now a special form she have to fill out and have notarized.
The mom didn’t have time to go anywhere and meet me again, so I had to schedule a mobile notary to go to her house, and I met her there. And both of her forms of identification were expired. After much time (3 weeks) and wrangling, She finally got us a copy of her new drivers license. By then it was within two weeks of the trip so we had to go in for a same day passport. Another expidite fee.
I was so careful…I had everything we needed all lined up. But of course the mothers name on the birth certificate doesn’t match the id (maiden vs new married name). Back I go for her marriage license. I fax it in as instructed and come back next day to pick up the passport. Which isn’t ready. Did I mention these offices are only open during work hours? FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK.
I turn in the marriage certificate – which I very wisely brought with me, anticipating a fax snafu – and return to the office to make an appearance before I have to go BACK to the passport office before 3pm to allegedly pick up the frakking golden goddamn passport of doom.
I hate everything.
- Fill out the passport forms online.
- Call to find out about hours, appointments, and forms of payment accepted at YOUR passport office. Try not to believe everythin they say; each office tells you something different about requirements.
- Get the pix taken at an actual passport office, not the local CVS.
- Make sure you have the long form. And your id. And the fully filled out forms. And the payment. And pictures and anything else.
- If there’s a stepkid involved, either get the birth parent to go along (make sure they have THEIR id) or get the official form to them, notarized. Get front and back copies of current ID, and make sure that all the names match (or else you’ll have to provide proof of name changes).
- Allow approximately 15 years to get through this entire process.
- Bring wine with you wherever you go. Drink heavily and play sudoku to pass the time. Would to all the stars that someone had written this down for me five months ago.