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The Layas Layas Baby: Her Passport Has Arrived!

So HAPPY my little one's passport arrived on time! I was getting nervous as our travel date approached but it worked, y'all... The expedited option worked!

Here are a few things I learned during this process:

1. Call ahead.

If I would have called ahead, I would have known that the pharmacy I was going to had a broken passport photo machine. It would have saved me one less car seat struggle.

If I would have called ahead, I would have known that the post office where I was originally going to apply, stopped taking passport applications an hour early because their computer system went down.

Was the universe testing my patience? Oh yes it was...

2. Bring personal checks.

Personal check or money order are the only ways to pay. No need to figure out the tally ahead of time, the passport agent will tell you exactly what to write.

In my case, I swear I put the checks in my bag before I left the house. They must of got tired of waiting in the long line...and hitched a ride back home.

Breathe in. Breathe out...

3. Write in black ink.

Blue? No go.

That same long line I was on...A young woman standing behind me was on her cell phone the entire time complaining about that same said long line, also about the post office that stopped taking applications (Ha!) and also about her eye doctor appointment. (She was right behind me, I could hear everything.) She got to the front and got schooled about the proper ink color for her application. She had to re-write it. I'm pretty sure she wasn't very happy.

4. Make sure your citizen documents meet the criteria.

That same long line I was on...A couple stood on line longer than I did, got to the front and got turned away because the husband's birth certificate didn't have both parents names listed. Check that you have the long-form birth certificate with both parents listed, or else you'll need to make another trip!

5. If you pre-print the passport application, print only on one-side.

If not, they'll either not accept it so you'll have to re-write the whole thing or they'll have to photocopy it correctly. Either way, it's time wasted. I know this because my little one's pre-printed application was printed on both sides...

6. If one parent will not be present, get a proper notarized letter / form.

Make sure the notary fills it out correctly. Again, same long line I was on...A mother, attempting to get a passport for her daughter, got turned away because the notary accidentally wrote her license expiration date instead of the date signed, on the father's form.

My last tip:

7. DON'T use the web status checker.

It totally doesn't work. You'll just drive yourself crazy (speaking from experience). About 7 days after we applied, I kept checking day after day after day. It kept giving me the same answer, your application is NOT in the system. Finally I called the 800 number when it was 2 weeks out to travel and got a nice lady on the phone who told me the passport was on the way with tracking number! Woot! Have name, social, mailing address and dob ready to give over the phone.

Simply call the National Passport Information Center about 2 weeks after you've submitted your application to check the status: 1-877-487-2778

For all the latest information, go here http://travel.state.gov/

Happy travels!

♥ Stephanie