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Old January 27th, 2006, 08:25 AM
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Default Birth Certificates-Passports

I was told that you can no longer use the wallet size birth certificates because of a new rule by Homeland Security? Anyone know if this is true? Also, do you have to provide a BC when going on a cruise? I would not want to take the original on a cruise nor would I want to pay for another one. I don't remember showing it on my previous cruise in 2002. How much are passports, generally, and what do I need to have in order to get one? I hear they are mandatory on cruises Dec. 2006 and later. THANKS!
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Old January 27th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Yes, you must have the original, with the raised seal. No others will be excepted. Homeland security and all the cruise lines have that info on their sites.

If you have a passport, then leave the BC at home.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 09:37 AM
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you are correct. You will need a copy of your original birth certificate with either a raised seal or watermark, and your driver's license or other official photo id to board the ship.
After 12/06 you will need the passport. You can get your passport at your local postoffice. You will need the same copy of your birth certificate, a passport photo,(you can get those at CVS even WalMart i think) and your driver's license to fill out the form. The cost is now $80.00 i believe - it is good for 10 years.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 09:52 AM
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Good gracious....money money money! I can't see me taking my original bc in case of damage.....they won't take a copy from the register of deeds? I did not know passports were so much! Do alot of people take their original bc??
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Old January 27th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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A copy of the original, as long as it has the raised seal, will suffice, thus not allowing the original to be on hand to possibly be damaged. Not meaning to be a smart ---
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Old January 27th, 2006, 10:04 AM
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Get a passport now. Its good for 10 yrs, youre locked into the current price, you will need one very soon anyways, and avoid the rush by doing it now. Ive seen too many problems travelling on a bc. Several people getting ready to fly to Nassau were denied boarding due to bc issues (mainly due to the seal no longer being raised thanks to being smashed in a file). A lady in our group had that problem and spent a day flying back home and getting a new bc. And, some countries require a passport now anyways. A friend of ours was going to Barbados (I think) and they would not let her fly since she didnt have a passport.

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Old January 27th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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Passports are expensive, but well worth the cost. It's actually more then $80. and the wait time is 4-6 weeks usually, unless you want to pay more for quicker service. Here is the Quote straight from the department of state, I'll send the link as well in case you want to read more. This is from March, last year, but nothing new is posted yet, so i assume it is up to date.

Passport Fees


March 8, 2005

Routine Services (Form DS-11)
Non-Refundable

Age 16 and older: The passport fee is $55. The security surcharge is $12. The execution fee is $30. The total is $97.

http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/fees/fees_837.html
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Old January 27th, 2006, 10:39 AM
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I swear I did not know they were that much....see my parents, who don't travel much, don't need a passport. They would not benefit from one. They are going on the cruise with us, but there is a big difference in $10 and $100! My hubby and I might get one, but prolly not them. So I guess it is safe to assume I can trash my wallet size bc that we used in Alaska? When do they look at them.....at the embarkation port, b/c we are not flying. I might wait til next year to get one and just do a copy of my bc for now...thanks you all


Also, do you just take a pic of youself to CVS get a copy and then to the PO or what?
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Old January 27th, 2006, 11:12 AM
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I know that the initial outlay of money seems steep but if you break it down it comes to $9.70 per year for 10 years for the most accepted form of identification in the world. When is your cruise? save-up to get your passport - and allow the 4-6 weeks for processing.
i would also strongly suggest that your parents get their passport, if only for the reason that if something should happen - medically usually and they need to get home, it can be a nightmare trying to get off an island without a passport.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 01:58 PM
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True....I just found out the total fee if the p.o. does it it $112.00! Lordie....the cruise is in May, so I am going to get moving. I will also have to include the new bc fee of $10 for each of my parents....oh well, at least we will be better safe and broke than sorry and rich...well, not rich
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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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Actually CVC can take your picture right there. So can the passport office, and other drugstores. Anyplace like that.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:07 PM
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Our post office takes the picture on the spot. You can also get passport photos taken at AAA if you belong.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 07:01 PM
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On my first cruise in 96, I had a copy of my BC with the raised seal. My "original" original BC was in the lock box, I just contacted the Dept of Vital Statistics in state in which i was born and they sent me another copy of my BC with the raised seal. Cost me about $5. However, knowing that you will need the passport after 12/06, I would go ahead and get it. If this is your first cruise, don't count on it being your last, get the passport, you will cruise again....

Jodi
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Old January 27th, 2006, 11:09 PM
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I just have a peeve and need to vent. I have cruised quite a few times with my driver's license and a certified (raised seal) copy of my birth certificate. We are planning a cruise in March and decided last December to go ahead and apply for passports, thus mailing away all of our "original" birth certificates, which are to be returned upon receipt of our passports. The rest of my family was born locally and getting copies of their birth certificates will be quick and painless. Me, being a "Nervous Nellie" figured I'd mail away to the State of California for another copy of my birth certificate just in case the passport doesn't arrive in time (knowing that it will probably take a full six weeks for CA to mail me a birth certiifcate.)

Here's my peeve: I just got my birth certificate from California and there is a raised seal . . . barely. You really . .. I mean really . . . have to search for it and then look at it in just the right light. And it looks like a bad photocopy, just on their "official" paper. I just know I'd be hassled by trying to use this at an airport or cruise port.

I can only hope that my passport arrives in time.
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Old January 28th, 2006, 08:02 PM
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Race,

I cruised once and ONLY once with my birth certificate. My seal wasn't very raised and the official looked at it, looked at me, looked at it again, felt it, looked at me....you get the picture.....after me sweating for what seemed like hours (probably only 1 or 2 minutes) he let me go thru.

I vowed then - never again - and promptly got passports for the whole family.

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Old January 29th, 2006, 10:52 AM
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Race, I, too, sweated about leaving my original birth certificate with the Post Office. I was fortunate enough, though, to have a copy of mine with a good raised seal on it. My original was returned after 6 weeks in the same condition it was upon my leaving it. :o
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Old January 29th, 2006, 11:23 AM
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Husband and I just got our passports yesterday. We applied at the Post Office on the last Saturday in November, so it takes several weeks to receive them. Fee is the amt that someone had posted from the website. We went to Walmart and had the photos done. Took about 5 minutes and I think the fee was around $20 for both of us. You can not just take a picture and have it reproduced. Picture has to be printed on some type of heat resistant paper and it has to be exactly the size required.(You get two pictures for each person, one is returned attached to your new passport and the other picture is retained for records). Allow at least 45 minutes to fill out the paperwork if using a post office. You need to take your original birth cert. or a certified copy from the state, and your driver's license. THE APPLICATION FORM MUST BE SIGNED IN FRONT OF THE EMPLOYEE AT THE POST OFFICE. So each person must go and apply for their passport in person. You can't take the application home and have spouse fill out and sign and then you take back to Post Office. You can pick up the form at the Post office and do all the questions ahead of time...just don't sign!
It does take a little while. You have to know your mother's maiden name, her birthdate, and your fathers birthdate, so it's not just a little form that will only take a few minutes to complete. You want to be certain that all info is accurate. The postal employee will check that all boxes are completed and that your driver's license matches your birth certificate and the passport application.
The birth certificate and the paperwork is then forwarded on for you. I had to use a debit card for the fee, apparently the fee is divided up, part going for the passport and the remainder retained by the post office as their fee. Of course they will take cash, but no credit card.
Debit card only.
Just a hint:There is a block on the application that asks when you are traveling. I didn't know any better and I put down May 2006. I found out later that if you put down an earlier departure date you will get your passport faster.
The new passport and your original birth certificate are sent back to you in a small cardboard priority mail container. Each person will receive their own, not all together. You don't have to sign for it at the post office, ours was just left in our mail box.
You're given the instruction sheet that's attached to the application, on it there is a website that you can check on the status of the application. I did this after 4 weeks and was told the application was in process in New Hampshire. Hope this helps.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 04:34 PM
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That really did help, thanks so much! I already printed two copies for my hubby and myself and I already typed in the info.....we are going to the po next week to apply and all. Our cruise is not until May, so we should be ok....I am a bit weary about mailing our original birth certificates, but the girl told us we could mail out our wallet size ones...she asked our ages and said that was ok? We will see....that is why I am doing it early in case of any probs....thanks to you all for the advice!
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Old January 29th, 2006, 06:09 PM
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On the block that is optional about travel destination and date when you expect to travel, don't put the May departure date. Maybe type in April, and you shouldn't have a problem receiving it by May.
Did someone at the post office tell you that is was ok to use the wallet size birth certificate or were you told thru the state dept web site? If the post office, I'm not doubting the post office, but I would probably check the web site or maybe call the toll free number and see if you can clarify this.
Maybe other readers know for a fact that you can use the wallet size birth certificate. I think that children entering school can not use the wallet size, but must have the original birth certificate, so you would think that for something as important as passport that you would need to send original. The original was returned to me in perfect condition.
Good luck!
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Old January 30th, 2006, 11:35 AM
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The lady at the po told me wallet was ok....but we will see...prolly will be different when I get there.....my parents don't really want to send their original bc, but don't want to pay for a copy, either, oh well...we will cross our fingers! Thanks to you all....I can't wait!
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