With the new requirements going into effect this year, my family has decided to invest in passports. Do you know how long it takes to get an appointment and can you just walk in? How long does it take to get in the mail? We are going on a cruise June 26 and hope to have them prior to sailing.
We got our passports last fall at our local main post office. We just walked in and applied. Before you do that, though, you need passport photos. We got ours at AAA since we are members, but many on these boards say Wal-Mart does good photos. The government is VERY picky about the photo (certain size, etc.).
You also need your birth certificate (raised seal, NOT a hospital BC) and a picture ID (Drivers License). They will take your birth certificate and return it with your passport. I didn't know this and was a little nervous about it, but it did come back.
It took about 3 weeks to get our passports. This was before the recent announcement about needing a passport to go just about anywhere, so it may take longer.
I would think there would be plenty of time before your cruise. If you are concerned you can pay a little more for faster service.
Check out http://travel.state.gov/ for more info.
Have a wonderful cruise!
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Fern is right about the passports. There are many post offices that are able to process your application. You just walk in and tell the clerk you want to apply for a passport.
My husband and me took our oldest daughter to get hers and we had to go to the post office the next town over because our local post office doesn't do passports. I just applied for a new one this past Monday at the county clerk's office. I paid $67 with a personal check made out to the U.S. Dept. of State, and paid $30 cash for the processing fee. It came out to $97, and yes, they keep your birth certificate and mail it back along with the passport.
I had my passport picture taken at a drug store for $8 a sheet, but you only need two 2x2 size pictures with a white background. The pictures must meet their requirements otherwise they won't be accepted by the agency.
There is a mechanism for expediting the processing of your passports. If it were me, and I had waited until jost over 2 months to apply for my passport, I would take the expedited processing - it may cost more, but better to pay a little extra than not get it back in time. I suspect that processing times will be slower than normal right now because (a) it is busy season and (b) more people are applying as a result of the publicity about the policy changes that are being implemented.
I would not take a chance. Pay a few bucks more to make sure you get them back in time.
Most post offices offer photos and they are often cheaper than what you would get elsewhere. We were there on a Friday morning when the post office opened and didn't wait at all.
My husband went on a Saturday (much busier), but was first in line.
It took a little less than 3 weeks.
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If you are nervous about sending your birth certificates but have time, get 2nd copies of your BC before applying for the passports. That's what I am doing. That way I won't have to w/o them for a few weeks in case I need them. I was able to order mine through Vitalchek and got it in 2 days (I was born in another state). All I have to do for the rest of my family is go over to the county courthouse where we live because everyone else was born here. Our cruise is still almost a year away so I'm just going to order 1 passport at a time so I don't have to fork out so much money at one time.