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branchandroot: Havoc totally blitzed (Havoc apathy)
So, yesterday I went and submitted my paperwork for passport renewal, which I had to do from scratch because I changed my name since the last one. As a public service, here are tips for others who may be doing the same.

1) you will need your parents' birthdays and places of birth (state is okay if you don't know the city), and also for your spouse or ex, if you have one. Do not believe the online application if/when it says it's okay to leave those blank. You also need to fill in prospective travel destination, even if you fill it in with "none".

2) don't try to take/print your own passport photo, seriously, just go to Walgreens or similar, it will save you hours of frustration.

3) you will want to look up whether acceptance facilities take walk-ins or require an appointment. Most drop-off points will require an appointment. My county clerk's office did not, and thankfully had extended hours on Tuesdays, which made it worth taking the bus down, but all the post offices needed appointments.

4) almost everywhere will require you to pay the passport fee and execution fee separately. Because reasons. Take you checkbook, your credit card, and cash just in case. You don't want to go through this twice. You cannot use cash for the actual passport fee, so make sure you have a check or money order for that part.

5) if you have an old passport that is even slightly damaged, write up a brief statement that it was damaged in a flood/plumbing accident/the dog ate it/whatever, to sign and include if called for.

6) take every piece of identification you own, birth certificate, old passport, marriage license, court order of name change, social security card, DEFINITELY the driver's license. Just take everything, just in case, because once again, you don't want to haul through this twice.

7) if you are doing this for a child, either both parents must be present or else you need a signed release form from the parent who couldn't come. Consider bringing along custody paperwork if you were awarded sole custody.

8) they will take away the originals of your ID, except the driver's license. Don't panic, you will get them back, but they will come in separate mailings from your passport.

9) I would not consider it amiss to take along at least a good photo of the kitchen sink. If nothing else, you may make the acceptance staff laugh, which they are surely in need of.

10) on which note: bring along your patience. There are sure to be people ahead of you in line, quite possibly people who are upset and nervous. Soothing music, phone games, a hip flask, whatever gets you through.

Personally, I'd schedule a stop by the pub in the way home, to celebrate wending your way through all that bureaucracy. *lifts her glass* Good luck!
branchandroot: Hatsuharu amused (Haru amused)
"January 72% Off"

So what do you think the sale price of January is?

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