Monday, September 28, 2009

Taking Care of the Paperwork...

Getting a passport turned out to be a painless ordeal. At least, that’s how it happened to work out for me. Then again, I did have to have my pictures done twice...but I should have known something would be off with them – the lady that took the first set was pretty spacey! LOL. She had a really hard time with the camera and printing them out, and I was worried for the whole store’s safety when she took out the scissors to cut them down to the right size! Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad, but they were too dark for the post office to accept. No big deal though.

So, once the decision of where we were going was made and the trip was booked, I knew that we needed to get cracking about getting our passports. We had thought that B might be able to use his military ID, but no such we both need one of these:


I had read/found lots of places online that said that you could get an expedited passport no problemo. Just costs more dinero. (Can you tell that I’m brushing up on my high school Spanish classes in preparation for our big trip?!?!) Anyway, after reading more about it, I decided that the safest bet was just to go through the Post Office and pay the extra $$ for the faster processing time to be on the safe side.

In Austin, you have to make an appointment at the nearest Post Office for your passport application, and not every Post Office processes the applications. Lucky for me, the Post Office that is closest to my office does do them, and when I called for an appointment, it was simple to get one for the very next day. I set my time, went online here and filled out the forms necessary, wrote down the amount that I would be expected to pay, and gathered the necessary forms (birth certificate and driver’s license). I was a good girl and did NOT sign the forms...they’re really picky about this one!

I arrive about 5 minutes early, and I guess that I was expecting to have to go somewhere other than the normal line for the postal services. But no, I was told to just wait there in line until my appointment time came around. So I waited. And waited a few extra minutes. Then Yvette called my name. She was nice and friendly, and so very apologetic in telling me that the pictures that I had already paid to have done wouldn’t work. She even wrote out a note and stamped it with the official post office stamp in hopes that the place where I got the photos would offer me a refund. (I don’t think that they will, but it doesn’t hurt to ask...)

Anyway, lucky for me they take pictures there at the Post Office for an extra $15. Totally worth it to me to not have to reschedule my appointment and come back another day, right? Right. And she even told me that it was ok to smile...the other pictures really were dreadful! Once the pictures were taken care of, we went back to the main room and she processed my application. That consisted of cutting down the photos, aligning all the paperwork (who knew that they wanted to keep the copy of my birth certificate?) and getting it all ready to sign. Then I had to raise my right hand and affirm that the information on my application was true to the best of my knowledge, and sign the forms.

Once that was taken care of, Yvette calmly calculated the fees. I was prepared to pay the extra $60 for expediting the passport, but she assured me that I didn’t need to do that. She could tell that I was hesitant, but we walked through a calendar together and she’s right, I shouldn’t need it. Of course, that’s best case scenario...the scenario that is currently playing in my head is the one where I don’t get my passport in time because of her recommendation I didn’t pay the extra money to have it done faster. I’m trying to keep those fears to a minimum right now though. Anyway, one check/money order to the US Department of State for $75 later, and another payment of whatever form to the local Post Office of $40 for pictures and processing, and I was on my way.

So, in the door at 10:35am...out the door and back in my car at 11:07am. A painless process all around. Yvette was nice and helpful, and she saved me $75...even if I did have to pay for those extra pictures. Maid Britney pointed out that saving that $75 actually offsets the $70 that I paid to have an updo done that I didn’t like. Sweet! And thanks for finding that silver lining for me, Brit!

Did you have to apply for a passport? How long did it take to get yours? I’m SURE that I’m going to start having nightmares about not getting mine soon...


  1. FYI, if your passport is still missing two weeks before your travel date you can call the processing center directly and they will expedite it and overnight it to you (at least they did when the requirements changed). You should also receive your original documents back with your passport. You can look up the processing center in this site:

  2. Both the first time and when I changed it to my married name, it only took about 2 1/2 -3 weeks to get mine back... and they sent my birth certificate and marriage license back, as well. Are you planning to change your name after the wedding? If so, you have to pay the fees ALL over again! (Although I think they asked if I'd gotten one within 6 months prior, so you might be good.)