I don’t know about you, but I have always found that when obtaining something from a government agency there are a few key things to remember:
- Always go to the earliest appointment available
- Check, Check, and re-check the materials you need to bring
- Carve out a large enough chunk of time to spend waiting
- Be prepared for things not to go smoothly.
In the end of this month the three of us, along with another couple and their 8 month old, will be traveling out of the country on a 5 day holiday. There is no real special occasion or documented holiday, but May is going to be a busy month for us so we thought that a nice trip away with some warm weather, good music, and Jerk Chicken would prepare us for the upcoming month.
With this being our first child, Sean working super long hours, and me not yet having a “mommy’s helper” we didn’t get around to booking our trip until last week. That means that we have 3 weeks to prepare…not a lot of time. First and foremost on my list was getting Sloane a U.S. Passport. What a lucky girl that she will be traveling out of the country for the first time at 8 months! I knew this was going to probably be the most stressful part of our planning so I did extensive research to make sure that I was prepared. I looked on the internet at the U.S. Department of State website and I emailed friends who had already gone through the process. I got lots and lots of information and tried to be as organized as possible when putting it all into my folder to bring to my appointment.
Then I called the hotline for an available appointment time. Since I was traveling within 14 days, I would have to show up in person, with Sloane, and apply for the passport. Luckily, as my girlfriend Camilla had suggested, I took an 8am appointment (the earliest one available).
After reading the 6 page list of things I needed to bring with me, here is my checklist cheat sheet of what I needed to have with me.
(the only thing I left off, and subsequently forgot was the confirmation number the automated system gives you over the phone when you make the appointment. Of course, when I got to the check in window, I had to plead with the woman to just look up my name and appointment time..I even took Sloane out of the stroller and showed them her pouty face so they would maybe take pity on me and let me continue the process.) Thank you Debbie from the Hudson street Passport office for helping me out!!
I ended up waiting for an hour, feeding Sloane some of her favorite food from Plum Tots (they come in this awesome squeezable bag for easy travel) and we got everything taken care of. The only other crisis we averted was that I wrote out the check for $145…I know how expensive!! and the cost was actually $165…even worse! The check was just unreadable after I tried to change the amount. Buuuuuuuut they take credit cards. Phew.
So, if you are going to get a passport for your child just make sure you take a look at the U.S. Passport site, at my cheat sheet above and just expect the unexpected.
Forms you may need:
DS11: The actual application
DS3053: Parental consent if the second parent can’t be there in person. Must be notarized