Sunday, August 22, 2010

baby + passport = ready for anything!

In the spring, we were toying with a couple of opportunities that were presenting themselves for us to go abroad this summer. We didn't have any definite plans (and ended up not making them after all), but realized that--duh!--Ruby should have a passport, just in case.

I just thought about this again recently because my cousin and her husband just got an offer to move to Switzerland through work. They are super excited, but the fact that their two kiddos didn't have passports yet delayed their visa applications and, thus, their move.

Jude and I are both spontaneous people and can each cite numerous examples of last-minute trips we have taken throughout our lives, whether for work or for play. We always make sure that our own passports are up-to-date so that we are ready if a cool opportunity comes why shouldn't Ruby be ready for anything, too?

Anyway, last March, we spent a morning at the post office applying for Ruby's passport. She got it in the mail a few weeks later. International travel, here I come!

First, get yourself together. Here's what you'll need to do and gather:
  1. Find an application center nearby. Many USPS post office branches have passport services. Check the hours and the rules for the passport window at the location you choose--many times, the passport windows have separate hours than the rest of the post office, and some even require an appointment.
  2. Get a passport photo. The location in downtown Brooklyn that we went to with Ruby did passport photos on-site, but not all locations do. Make sure you know whether this is an option. If not, many photo shops, drug store chains, and business centers do passport photos. Ruby was old enough to sit up on her own, so I just propped her on my knee while I stood with my foot on the chair.
  3. Fill out the DS-11 passport form. I suggest filling it out online and then bringing a printed copy with you, but just don't sign in until you're in the presence of the official "Acceptance Agent" where you apply for the passport.
  4. Gather the necessary documents. Things you'll need: a) baby's original birth certificate (they'll take it for the application and send it back to you with the passport in a few weeks) with both parents'/guardians' names on it, b) baby's social security card, c) photo IDs for each parent/guardian (valid passports or driver's license), and d) photocopies of parents' IDs and the baby's social security card. If you have extenuating circumstances or further questions, check the government page on applying for a passport for a minor.
  5. Make it a family outing! Both parents, as well as the baby, need to be present while applying for the minor's passport.

Here we are heading to the post office for the passport application. Unfortunately, I didn't do the timing well and she fell asleep on the way there, so we had to wake her up and take her hat off for her photo.


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