As you can see from the plethora of posts lately (Ha!), I’ve been having a hard time keeping the blog going. As a matter of fact, after I criticized my blogging platform, WordPress, publicly on Twitter, a post I’d been working on for weeks disappeared into thin air. I swear that I was on the verge of tears for a solid fifteen minutes. It’s hard to fit in blogging at times. Case in point: Parts of this post were typed with my right hand because I often need to hold Baby C for her naps in the crook of my left arm!
Learning to be a mom has been a mix of exhausting, eye-opening, and now fun more and more each day. Baby C is getting to be a pretty cool hang out partner. I’m hoping that she’s also going to be a great travel partner for me and Husband J. Before she can go anywhere outside the country, she’ll need one very important thing:
Baby C and her passport. I was very happy that I got her to smile.
Husband J and I will be taking a few trips this year, and Baby C will get her first taste of travel. All babies and minors from the U.S. traveling by air need a passport. If you’re driving across U.S. borders, a birth certificate will suffice. By the way, I’ll reveal our destinations in a separate post, if that’s okay with you.
I figure someone out there may want to know what the process is for getting a U.S. passport for a baby, so I thought I’d share our experience. I’ll be throwing in some of my favorite Baby C pics, too.
The main thing you need to know is that both parents need to apply with the baby in person. The fact that someone needs to get their hair done or has to go to a barbecue that day just won’t cut it. By filling out a form DS-3053, you’re essentially representing to the government that you have special circumstances that prevent you from finding the other parent so that they can give consent (a section is provided on the form for the non-appearing parent’s consent).
Here’s a run down of the passport acquisition process for a baby:
Step 1 – Make sure you’ve got the right application. For minors, that’s a form DS-11. You can download one, and fill it in on your computer or by hand. DO NOT SIGN IT. You’ll need to do that in person when you apply.
Step 2 – Have your documents in order. Both the minor applicant and the parent(s) will need to present documents that verify identity and citizenship. Being only a few months old, Baby C really only has a birth certificate and a Social Security card. A certified birth certificate was perfectly acceptable for her identification. As for us, we simply used our passports. There are other options for identification such as a drivers’ license.
Step 3 – Have a payment ready with you. Checks will work. It’s $80 for a non-expedited passport book for a minor.
Step 4 – Get a passport sized photo (2 inches x 2 inches). You’d think this part would be easy, but it’s actually somewhat of a pain with a baby. Imagine telling a two month old baby to stop squirming, not to blink, and to stare straight ahead with a head they can’t even hold up on their own. Yup, not gonna happen too easily. In the end, Husband J ended up kneeling down and holding up Baby C so that the woman at the passport acceptance facility could take her pic. In her pic, it seems as if she has elephant ears. Those extra “ears” are actually Husband J’s hands.
Step 5 – Go to a passport acceptance facility, post office or passport agency. As I mentioned before, you can only apply for the baby’s passport in person. It’s necessary to go to a passport acceptance facility; or if you’re traveling within 2 weeks or less, a passport agency. Do you remember my trip to the passport agency last year? You can only apply for new passports at passport acceptance facilities, passport agencies or a U.S. post office. Our passport acceptance facility was the Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch at Grand Army Plaza.
Our experience at the Brooklyn Public Library was a good one. I will say as with anything related to dealing with the government, get there early. We arrived at about 10am on a Saturday morning and a group of smart people were already there. The room isn’t that big, and there’s not really a system for figuring out who is serviced when. There’s an intake line, and you’ve got to hope that you get a little attention when you arrive.
In the end, if you come prepared, you’ll get out of there pretty quickly. I have to give the passport folks props, since we got Baby C’s passport just four weeks later. Not too bad, right?
When did you get your first passport? Were you less than four months months old?