Saturday, February 13, 2010

Applying for Passports

Yesterday we went to apply for our passports. An adult has to have proof of citizenship and proof of identity. A minor has to have proof of citizenship and some kind of certified proof of parental permission from BOTH parents.

Oddly, my daughter’s application was the easier of the two. We had her birth certificate for her proof of citizenship. For proof of parental permission my husband and I both let them take copies of our driver’s licenses (to prove we were really her parents—our names are the same on our ID as on her birth certificate) and signed the form in front of the clerk. Done. The form and the birth certificate and our driver’s license copies get sent off someplace and she’ll get a passport in 6-8 weeks.

If one parent isn’t present you have to have some kind of certified something in writing from them. It sounded easier for my husband to just take off work early and go with us. I’m sure they have that in case one parent lives in another state. I’m betting if one parent is dead you have to have a death certificate.

It was a no-go on me, however. I had my old passport (from 1988) for proof of citizenship and my license as proof of identity. The clerk said the names were different. Yes, I got married in 1989. Did I have my marriage license? No, not with me. They won’t give you a new passport without proof of name change. Did I have my birth certificate? No, I have no idea where it is, but my name on my birth certificate is the same as on my old passport. Well, that doesn’t matter. What??

What it boils down is that if I use my old passport as proof of citizenship I have to have proof of name change. If I use my birth certificate, I don’t. Weird.

So I have to come up with either a copy of my marriage license or a copy of my birth certificate. I’ve since realized that the copy I have of my marriage license is probably not a certified copy—it’s probably just a pretty copy for my picture book.

I poked around online and found out that it’s much easier to apply for a copy of my birth certificate from the state of Missouri than it is to apply for a copy of my marriage license from the state of Indiana. So I think I’ll go the birth certificate route. I’m tempted to try to get a copy of my marriage license, too, just in case I ever need it.

I guess I’m glad it’s so difficult to get a passport in the United States, for homeland security reasons or whatever. And at this point I have plenty of time.

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