C.H. asks from Mountain View, CA on March 09, 2009
How to Get My Baby's Passport Done?
We have a 13 month old son and are planning traveling overseas in summer or a later time. Since we have never had a baby going along, it is kind of confusing on how to get his passport done. Do we take him to a regular place for photo, or just the postal office? Can you tell us how long does it take for the passport to be back to us? Thanks a lot!
K.A. answers from San Francisco on March 10, 2009
It's actually quite simple. We printed out the form and filled it out at home first. Then went to Costco to get 2 passport photos for $5 per person, and it takes like 15 mins. The post office will charge you $15. Then we brought the form, photos, original birth certificate (they will return it in the mail to you), and all of you, your child and your husband must be present with driver's license/ID. My husband met us at the post office during his lunch hour. The cost is exactly the same whether you do it at the post office or at the passport agency. It took about 2-3 weeks, really fast, since it's a baby passort and there's not background checking. It came back faster than my husband's renewal. Give yourself 4-6 weeks to be on the safe side. We were cutting it close, with 3 weeks b4 leaving and we paid for it to be overnighted both ways ($15 each) but opted out of the rush job ($60 extra) and we made it. The travel site claims that no one has ever missed their flights, which gave us some sense of hope that we would get it back in time.
N.M. answers from San Francisco on March 09, 2009
Costco does passport photos at a great price. Take the photos with the birth cirtificate and application to the post office passport window. Also, both mom and dad have to accompany the baby at the passport window, and make sure you both have your identity information with you. This website tells you what kind of ID you have to bring: http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/minors/minors_834.html
We did our children's passports when they were less than 6 months old, and then just recently renewed both of them. I hear it's taking about 3-4 weeks, but I think you are supposed to give them at least 6 weeks to get it done.
Have fun on your trip! :)
C.M. answers from San Francisco on March 10, 2009
Out local Walgreens does passport pictures, too
S.K. answers from San Francisco on March 10, 2009
It is really easy to get a photo. Most photo places know what is required for a passport - color of background, size and which angle is needed.
I got ours done at Wolf Camera and Video for $16 I think.
The other posts say Costco is less expensive, but if you do not have a membership - Wolf is another place.
I would avoid the passport booths - kids won't stay still for the perfect photo!
The only thing with a baby photo is that they must have their eyes open. (My daughter was 10 weeks old when we needed hers - so this took a bit of doing to be satisfactory).
A child passport is only for 5 years, not 10 as for adults.
We filled out the forms ahead of time (which we picked up from our local post office which had a passport office attached).
It is usually a "come in and sit and wait and take a number system", so take lots of toys and things to keep little one occupied. (There is usually no bathroom - but sometimes the staff will feel sorry for you...)
Saturdays are the busiest day, but if you go early - you are better off. Weekdays are less busy, but both parents need to be present or else you need a special letter as it states in the form. Passport offices are usually open 9-3 but check for local variations (and days!).
Make sure you take 2 checks - one for the passport office and one for the Post Office.
The waiting at the office is the hardest part.
Apply now for the summer and you can avoid the summer rush and be sure to get your passport before travel time. You can expedite it in a number of ways but you pay a lot extra.
I applied in June for travel plans in August and had to expedite to be sure to get it in time. (Was trying to fit a trip in to my family while on maternity leave - so timing was a crunch).
They usually have it posted up at the office how long passports are taking. Whenever it has said 4-6 weeks, I have always been surprised when it comes back in 2-3 - even when I have not been expediting.
Hope this helps!
K.L. answers from San Francisco on March 10, 2009
You can get passports done at the post office. However, be aware that not any post office has the passport service so go to this webpage: http://www.usps.com/passport/welcome.htm
Here you can find all the info you need to know. Also, there is a link to find which post offices offer passport services. The web page will also take you to the official .gov webpage which has the form you need to print, fill out and bring with you to the post office. In addition, you need pictures of your son. If you don't have any passport pictures you can also just paid the $12 the post office charges to do it for you while you are there. I recommend that you go to a post office that is a little in the outskirts of an area, they typically have less to do. Or go at an odd time where they will have less to do.
You need to bring your son's birth certificate and minimum your driver’s license. And a check book – as far as I remember, they do not accept visa card for the fees. But all this is covered when going through the page on the above mentioned usps web page.
It usually takes between 4-6 weeks from the time you turn in the application until you get the passport, but if you are in a hurry you can pay an expidite fee and they will return your passport within 2 weeks (I believe we got my dauthers after 10 days).
Hope this helps. And have a great trip :-)
E.P. answers from San Francisco on March 10, 2009
We just took our little boy to the postoffice. They were a bit useless at taking the photo but got it done. We expedited it and it arrived in about 10 days (without express mail). That was last July.
R.B. answers from San Francisco on March 10, 2009
You used to be able to have your child's other parent sign a form to allow you to get the passport, now you BOTH must appear to apply. Also, even though the post office website says no appointment is necessary, we were told when we showed up with our kids that we needed an appointment (Newark Post Office). And, kids CANNOT renew by mail like adults. You must reapply in person for them, again with both parents.
I printed the forms online and had everything filled out ahead of time. Thank goodness the people ahead of us didn't or we would have been sent home!
K.N. answers from San Francisco on March 10, 2009
I don't know where you are, but I live in South San Jose, and drove to Morgan Hill city hall to get passports for my kids. I don't know if they take pictures, but there was no wait (call to find out busy times) and the passports came back in something like 3 weeks (not expedited, just regular). My neighbor told me about that as an alternative to the post office.