Photo credit: www.asktheimmigrationlawyer.com
Whether you have a trip planned, or you want to be prepared in case something awesome comes up, you may be thinking it's time to get your child a passport. Or, at least that is what I have been thinking about, so last week I decided to get my son a passport! I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that it wasn't nearly as time consuming and torturous as I thought it would be.
My first step was to make an appointment, since I was planning to go to one of the centers that are by appointment only. I chose the Hoboken Post Office. The only locations that do not require an appointment are the Hudson County Passport Office, the Jersey City Main Post Office, and the Edgewater Post Office. You can make an appointment by going to www.usps.com/scheduler.
Here is a list of nearby locations in New Jersey:
Edgewater Post Office - 770 River Rd., M-Sat. - 10am-3pm
Hoboken Post Office - 89 River St., M-F - 9am-2pm
Hudson City Station - 392 Central Ave., Jersey City, M-Sat. - 9am-2pm
Hudson Country Passport Office - 257 Cornelison Ave., Jersey City - M-F - 8am-3pm
Jersey City Main Post Office - 69 Montgomery St., M-F - 8:45am-1pm, Sat. 10:30am-12:30pm
Journal Square Station Post Office - 899 Bergen Ave., Jersey City, M-Sat. - 10am-3pm
North Bergen Post Office - 4608 Tonnelle Ave., M-F - 10:30am-3:30pm, Sat. - 10:30am-12:30pm
Union City Post Office - 301 30th St., M-F - 10am-3pm, Sat. 8:30am-1:30pm
West New York Post Office - 5415 Bergenline Ave., M-F - 10:30am-1pm, 1:30pm-3:30pm
Before going to the location of your choice there are a few things you need to prepare.
Go to travel.state.gov and click "passport forms." This will lead you to a listing of different forms. You will most likely need to select "DS-11" which is an application for all first-time applicants, and all minors. Print this form in advance and fill it out at home, as random questions are on it that you will not know the answer to off the top of your head at the post office. The staff and other people waiting will also get upset with you if you do not have your form filled out in advance and delay everyone else. DO NOT sign your form before arrival. You must sign it in front of the representative at the office.
Both parents must be present to sign the form if getting a passport for a minor. If the other parent cannot be present you can provide a notarized letter permitting you to get your child a passport alone.
You can get your child's photo taken at any of the locations I listed, or you can bring your own. I chose to get my son's photo taken at the post office when applying. If bringing your own, you must adhere to the following guidelines:
Your child must have a neutral expression or natural smile with their eyes open
The photo must be 2x2 inches
It must be taken within the last 6 months
The backdrop must be white or off-white
If your child wears a religious head covering, you must also submit a signed statement that verifies that the hat or head covering in your photo is part of recognized, traditional, religious attire that is customarily or required to be worn continuously in public. (The same goes for head coverings for medical reasons).
You must also bring the following with you:
An original and a photocopy of your child's birth certificate
A form of primary photo identification for both parents or multiple secondary forms of ID (Be sure to also bring a photocopy of each form of identification front and back, but not on double sided paper).
A personal check or debit card for the passport fees ($80 application fee, $35 execution fee, $15 photo fee). If you don't bring a personal check you will have to use your debit card to get a money order which may require an additional fee.
After you apply, you can expect to receive your passport in 4-6 weeks, unless you requested and paid for expedited services in which case your passport will arrive between 2-3 weeks. You can track the progress of your application online at travel.state.gov.