5 Helpful Tips for Getting Passports
Heading overseas or want that extra layer of identity protection while doing some homeschool travel? I’ve got some great tips for getting passports for you!
This article is part of a 10-day series of homeschool travel tips! We really enjoy learning through experiences and travel, so I’m happy to share any and all tips that could help you and your kids to enjoy traveling as well!
We have some extra long distance homeschool & family travel planned for the future, so we had to get our passports up to date! My husband and I had expired passports to renew, but my boys needed to get their first passports.
While our experience getting passports for kids was fairly uneventful, there were a few things that surprised me so it’s only right that I share these tips for getting passports with you!
Getting your Passports…
Schedule an Appointment
There are quite a few places that offer services to apply for a new passport! Some places only offer passport photos (lots of drug stores with photo centers offer this service) and some offer both the photos and the passport application service. Many people go to their local USPS location, but we decided to go to our local County Store.
When you’ve decided that it’s time to get passports for your kids, yourself, or both, you will want to make an appointment! From what I’ve researched, most places do not offer the option for walk-in passport appointments.
Passports can take some time to be processed, so make sure you schedule your appointment with plenty of time to receive your passport!
When you’re getting passports, make sure you have valid photo identification on you. As for the kids, make sure you bring their birth certificates to your passport appointment.
It’s possible that my youngest son’s birth certificate was misplaced (ugh!), so I had to take a drive over to the Office of Vital Statistics to get another copy. Thank goodness we still live in the area in which he was born!
Definitely check to make sure you have valid identification for all that will be getting passports and, if you need birth certificates from out of town…go ahead and order them now so they arrive in time for your appointment!
As society is straying from using paper checks, this could be one of the biggest tips for getting passports! When we went, I had to bring 1 paper check per person because part of the payment had to go to the government and part went to the County Store for processing fees. I could’ve brought money orders instead of checks, but I’d much rather not pay the fees for a money order.
When getting U.S. passports, make sure to have all forms of payment ready to go! Payment options vary depending on where you get your passports, so make sure you make sure you’re prepared before your appointment.
The government website does state that wearing camouflage is not acceptable for passport photos, but I had no idea to even check for clothing restrictions.
Honestly, I was just happy my kids were able to get themselves dressed and ready for our appointment in time – I didn’t even realize my 8 year old was wearing a camouflage shirt that day!
When we arrived at our passport appointment, we were told that my son couldn’t wear his shirt in the photo. Even though our county store is inside a mall, I really did not want to spend the money to buy him another shirt for the photo. Luckily, his big brother was able to “share” shirts with him. My oldest got his photo done first and then let his little brother wear the shirt on top of the camo shirt.
I totally understand the reasoning behind the “no camouflage” rule, but never even thought about such a clothing restriction before!
When getting passports for kids under the age of 16, both parents must give permission for the passport. I know that situations may vary, so definitely make sure you’re aware of the guidelines before applying for or going to an appointment to get passports for kids.
Enjoy your trip!
We’re still waiting on our passports to arrive, but we’re super excited at the travel possibilities having passports will make available to us! After our first trip (have you heard?? We’re going on a cruise!!), I’m thinking we’ll be making a trip to Canada soon after. Then, Italy….England…Greece…I want to visit all of them!
Until next time, stay safe and enjoy quality time with your family,