Applying for my First Passport in 2021
I am not going to lie, I had no idea where to start. I assumed forms were involved, probably some legal documents, a picture to be taken, and that cool blue book you get! I have been wanting to get mine for years now but I never booked anything outside the Country for it to matter so here we are. It’s not the year I would have chosen in hindsight, but I feel like it’s a “Now or never” thing in case I want to visit Mexico and (borders open hopefully) Canada during my 48 States travel. My mom lives near the border in Texas, and I have friends in Michigan and New York that could show me some of Canada, so I thought it would be smart to at least HAVE it in case it worked out.
The first step is finding your State’s Passport site. Here is the paperwork you will need, and I HIGHLY suggest you fill it out online and print it out. You have more time to do it at home, can make sure it is all correct and just go over the fine details. If you wait to fill it out at the Post Office or wherever you get yours done, it will just take twice as long. And honestly you don’t want to be there longer than you have too, so again, I recommend doing it at home. I filled my paperwork out, saved the file, and then printed it when I had the ink. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING until you are at the location you are submitting it. There are rules to follow on this and trust me, it’s just easier to follow them and not have to repeat anything twice.
Now on the application, it asked me what Countries I would be visiting and for how long, and I left it blank. I assumed that when I got to the Post Office they would tell me if that was required or not. They asked for my spouse’s information, and also parent’s. I added what was necessary, left blank what they said wasn’t. Took about 20 minutes to fill it out online and then they show you how to save it, print it out, and then what it will cost you to submit it and any other forms needed to complete it.
For the picture part, they “say” you can do it at home but it’s tricky on what they are looking for, and for making sure you get the 2×2 size correct. I decided to head to Walgreens instead, just walked in, no appointment needed, and asked at the Photo Lab if they could do my Passport photo. Here is the funny part, they pulled down the white backdrop IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STORE! Not in the photo lab corner, not in a private room behind the counter, nope, let’s do it in front of the cigars! LOL Thankfully I went early so there were few in the Store, she took it with a digital camera, stuck the SD card in the one hour machine, printed it out…and took all of 5 minutes for her to make it the correct size and me $15 lighter. Odd way to do it, but they give you two of them, so hey, if you want to remember your ugly passport photo besides on that very important document, YOU CAN!
Next you need to make an appointment at the designated Passport place. I chose the Post Office nearby, making sure I had my birth certificate, copy of it too, the paperwork from online, and the picture. Now I brought cash and a debit card because it was a bit confusing online what payment they would accept- it had to be a money order for the government but you can buy it right there at the Post Office. I worried, what if I can’t? All that work to that point and be like “just kidding I can’t pay for it.”
Mine asked me to be 15 minutes early, so I was, and because they had “no shows,” I was allowed in the unmarked door as soon as I arrived. I wasn’t sure where to check in, so I just waited in the line of people until I could “check in” with the available employee. We sat in a little office, masks on AND a clear partition up, and he went over my paperwork. I was asked if I was me, and then showed me what to write and where to sign. What took me by surprise is that he took my REAL birth certificate and the copy as well. I was told I would get my birth certificate back 10 days after my passport came. Ok, glad I didn’t need it for anything else. LOL He stapled it all together, stamped some of it, and I was escorted to his window in the Main room to pay for it. $146 total for the Post Office $35 fee and then the $111 fee for the Passport itself. (I chose the book- you can get a smaller version for just certain Countries, but I thought, meh, I would then have it if for some reason I want to leave the Country again in the future.) He printed out the money order, I signed it over, they tell you specifically who it must be made out too, and then you get the receipts of everything and now my Passport wait’s to be born. I have been told about 3 months, I leave June 1st hence why I did it now so hopefully I get it in time or Craig will have to forward it to me somewhere on the road. So today is January 12th, I will let you know when I get it so you know how long they are taking. Oh, and they last 10 years, so that’s a pretty good investment for how long you have. Once the 10 years are up, you just need to renew it.
All in all, pretty easy to apply for, submit, and now it’s just the waiting game. Just very happy that piece in this giant jigsaw puzzle of an adventure is taken care of. Now, on to the next!
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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!