kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
[personal profile] kathmandu
Or renewing an old one, and it's been so long you forget how to do it.

Some of us in the U.S. have been advising each other to get passports, and I was meaning to, but I last got a passport when I was in college, and my mother walked me through it. Also, recent discussions have made it clear there are a lot of socially-anxious people among us, for whom having to ask directions is a major barrier.

The State Department has your back on this; they have downloadable forms and instructions and step-by-step wizards at travel.state.gov. Or you can get a form at the Post Office and take it home to fill out.

If you want to renew a passport, and it was issued less than 15 years ago (so, it expired less than five years ago), you can do the whole thing by mail! Details at the renew-by-mail instructions page.

If this will be your first passport, some of it has to be done in person, but you can prepare. Budget about $150 for a booklet-style passport in no hurry.

I just went and applied at my local Post Office. It was $140 to "U.S. Department of State", because I wanted the booklet and the card. Dept. of State will accept check or money order, and I think the Post Office can make the money order for you, on the spot, if you bring cash.

I also paid $40 to the Post Office: $25 handling fee and $15 taking-my-picture fee. They will take cash, check, and I think credit cards.

The application is about two pages, mostly stuff that will be very familiar to everyone who's taken standardized tests. I did have to ask my parents for their place of birth and date of birth.

When you go to get photographed or present your application at the Post Office, expect a line. I arrived at 2:35 on a Friday afternoon, and I got to the head of the line at 2:55.

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kathmandu: Close-up of pussywillow catkins. (Default)
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