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MystyGlyttyr
02-10-2009, 03:27 PM
I figure it's easier to ask here, since the government website http://www.usps.com/passport/ has more or less just made me more confused. Long story short, I'm looking to buy a passport with part of my tax refund in order to visit a friend in Canada later this year, but I don't entirely know what I need to do in order to do so. I know the fee and where to go and how to print out the application and about the photo and all that. But I have a couple other questions from the site.

1. Do I need to purchase a Book, a Card, or Book and Card?

2. How often does a passport need to be renewed?

3. Do I make two payments (one to USPS and one to State Department) or is it just all paid at the same time?

4. Other than the application and photo specifics, is there any other nasty little surprise that'll get thrown at me when I go to do it all? The gubmint is tricksy, after all.

Any help is greatly, greatly appreciated!

Aethian
02-10-2009, 03:31 PM
1. Card is needed for passage between the US/Canada/Mexico. Book is needed for everyplace else.

2. It's stated in the book or on the card when they need to be updated.

3. Two seperate checks or two seperate cash payments. They are made at the same time at the USPS clerks counter.

4. Get your picture done at a place that gives passport pictures. I got mine done AT the post office. Make sure you go to a Post Office that has passport services. Some don't.


Edited to add, make sure the application you print from the USPS website is dark and complete. With PDF you can fill it out on the computer and just sign it after you print. This is good for making sure there are no errors.

Kheldarson
02-10-2009, 03:34 PM
I got my pictures taken at CVS. And if you need it expedited, go to your Congressperson. That's how I got mine before going to Ireland.

PuckishOne
02-10-2009, 05:27 PM
2. How often does a passport need to be renewed?]
Every 10 years from the date of issue (both show on the passport).

Greenday
02-10-2009, 05:33 PM
I just got mine done a month ago so it's all still fresh on my mind.

1. I got a book, because it's good for traveling anywhere in the world.

2. As Puck said, every 10 years renew it.

3. Made both payments at the same time.

4. Aethian covered that one. Pick a place that does the picture on site. This way they don't make a fuss over the picture. Though they keep your birth certificate which I thought odd but I've learned is normal procedure so don't be surprised at that.

To my delightful surprise, I got both my birth certificate and passport a week after I submitted everything. And people say the government is slow.

MystyGlyttyr
02-10-2009, 06:07 PM
You need to take your birth certificate? What about anything else?

Greenday
02-10-2009, 07:07 PM
Driver's License would be very important.

Birth certificate is to prove you are from the US.

Aethian
02-10-2009, 07:23 PM
It can't be a copy of your birth certificate either. Must be a real deal.

auntiem
02-10-2009, 09:09 PM
Double check at the post office, I think you have to meet with someone in person for your first passport nowadays (I could be wrong, but they are always having interviews at the passport office here - maybe you only have to do that if you are under 18).
If this is your first passport ever then you do need to send in your birth certificate. Not the one with the foot prints - the one that has the raised seal. If you don't have the original then you can contact the health department of the state you were born in and get a certified copy.
I just got mine renewed and payed the extra $14 or so to have it priority mailed back to me, doubt that speeded it up much, but it was more for my peace of mind.
As for getting the card - I didn't bother because I live in a state that has enhanced drivers lic. which is the same thing (and cheaper) and it makes for one less thing to carry in my wallet. Check to see if you state has that program, but if you aren't a border state it most likely doesn't yet.
Also, just so you know when you renew your passport you do have to send it in, but they will send it back.
ETA: I sent mine priority with delivery confirmation. They cash your check(s) as soon as they get them so that is another way to check that they have started processing your passport.

Greenday
02-11-2009, 12:53 AM
I didn't get questioned at all about my passport. They made sure everything was signed, copied all my stuff, took my picture, paid, and was out. It was a CRAPLOAD faster than I expected.

Also, call the place you want to go to and make sure to see if they only do passports by appointment. Some places do walk-ins, some only do it by appointments.

1756GR2
02-11-2009, 02:23 AM
Courthouse did mine five years back - did the application, took the money, nice officer of the law took the picture. (Had to turn my shirt inside out because it had a logo on it.) I don't have my original birth certificate but I got a legal certified one from Vitalchek.com for about ten bucks.

I needed my passport in a hurry so I went to the passport office in Philadelphia to pick it up about two days after the rest was done by the courthouse. The expediting cost more, but it was worth it in my situation. The passport office was really helpful, contrary to others' reports about it. And mine was a mess to get done because of different names on my records. You can call them with questions, they were great to deal with.

Becks
02-11-2009, 02:47 AM
It can't be a copy of your birth certificate either. Must be a real deal.

A notorized copy from a courthouse would be okay, right?

depechemodefan
02-11-2009, 02:29 PM
1. Do I need to purchase a Book, a Card, or Book and Card? If you are asking do you have to purchase a book seperately, then no, the passport comes in a book. But then I might misunderstood you question. I never seen an U.S. passport as a card.

I had a relative say to just take your own pic (ie, have a relative or friend take the pic) and the post office, etc would take it. Unless you have a professional photographer friend who can take a head shot pic, just go to the local CVS or Walgreens and have them take the pic. One time I took a head shot of my mom but it wasn't good enough for the passport people.

Evil Queen
02-11-2009, 02:58 PM
Depending on what country you reside in, it's different. If you live in the US, it'll be pretty easy. I was talking to a Canadian buddy of mine about passports some time ago and was told there was several interviews that went with the application process. And not just of you either; of friends and family members.

A notorized copy from a courthouse would be okay, right?
Yes, that's all right.

auntiem
02-11-2009, 07:11 PM
If you are asking do you have to purchase a book seperately, then no, the passport comes in a book. But then I might misunderstood you question. I never seen an U.S. passport as a card.



If you have a passport you can also get the card. It is a fairly new addition. It is an extra $25 or so. It is good for land and sea crossings. You have to have the book either way, but people that live near a border can use the card to say go across the border to go to dinner in White Rock and not have to worry about having to carry around their passport all the time. But, in some states you can get an enhanced driver's lic which is the same as a regular one except it has all your passport info on it too - to get that you have to go into the DMV with your passport and have a brief interview (you can't get one if you have a DUI for example because Canada won't admit you).

Nyoibo
02-11-2009, 10:16 PM
You renew it every 10 years, or when you fill it vith visa's and entry stamps. :p

Aethian
02-11-2009, 11:08 PM
A notorized copy from a courthouse would be okay, right?

Call the post office. I heard from one of our clerks that they are having some problems with those. I don't know if it's just our area or if someone at the passport devision is being unruly.

Primer
02-18-2009, 12:02 AM
There are certain rules about the photo. What I can remember right off, is that it must be black and white, no glasses, and no smiling. Get it done somewhere that takes passport photos on a regular basis, like (I think) Walgreen's, or (I know) AAA.

prb
02-18-2009, 12:46 AM
Depending on what country you reside in, it's different. If you live in the US, it'll be pretty easy. I was talking to a Canadian buddy of mine about passports some time ago and was told there was several interviews that went with the application process. And not just of you either; of friends and family members.Sort of. Canadian you must have someone who has known you for two years with a valid passport sign as a guarantor and give the name, address, phone number and occupation of 2 other people who have known you for 2 years as references. They *may* contact the references and ask for some info, such as your name, date of birth, employment history, etc., but usually it's by phone if they even bother.