If you think you might be going abroad, then having your passport ready to go is the first step. Maybe you already have one. That’s great! Just be sure to check the issue date. Passports expire after 10 years for adults and 5 years for children. If you are purchasing passports for your entire family, then know that fees have gone up only recently. For a family of 5, it may cost about $600 for the whole process, if you are willing to wait the expected 4 to 6 weeks. If you need your passports sooner, then you will need to look into an expediting service, which will increase the cost significantly. Nonetheless, having a passport and using it is truly a wonderful thing.
Research – You’ll need to know when, where, what to bring, and how much. Find out where you can apply for a passport in you area. We were able to go down to our town clerk and apply for our passports there.
Save Up – As I mentioned, passports are a hefty price. We paid $8 each for passport photos, $125 to the town clerk for processing our passports, and $110 for adult passports (more for Trey because he needed his expedited) and $80 for child passports.
Say Cheese – You can get passport photos taken many places. I called to ask my town clerk where I could get photos taken in my area. She said I could get them taken there for $15 each person, but that Rite Aid charged about half of that.
Collect and Fill Out the Forms – I stopped by the clerk’s office to pick up our forms, but you can print them and get more information here. Fill them out in advance in the comfort of your own home. You may need some help with some of the questions.
Gather Important Documents – If you’ve ever had a passport before, bring it. For anyone who has never had a passport, then be sure to bring a certified copy of the birth certificates.
Head to the Passport Office – This must be done in person. If you are getting passports for your children, then both parents will need to be present as well. If one parent is unable to come (e.g., work schedule), then an affidavit must accompany the passport application(s).
Wait – All that’s left is to wait for your passports to arrive in the mail. Your expired passports and copies of birth certificates will also return to you, but in separate packages. Be sure to store your passports in a safe location. We keep ours in a fire safe under our bed.
Where will you go with your new passport? What adventures await you in other lands?