Thursday, March 17, 2005

Passport Nonsense

So, as a family, we're going up to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada this June to celebrate the birthday of one of my wife's aunts. In order to take our two daughters, we decided to get passports. It's possible that we could have gotten away using just birth certificates for them when visiting the 52nd state, but we thought we'd play it safe and just get the passports.
The documents were readily available for download and printing. So far, so easy. Then, it turns out that since Feb 2004, both parents have to show up, or provide a notarized statement from the non-present parent that it's ok for the present parent to apply for a passport. Well, my wife has a notary available at work, so that wasn't too onerous. You also have to have the child present. Very understandable, and it turned into a tiny adventure bringing the girls to the Post Office. Being the U.S. Post Office, passport processing is only available between the hours of 10am and 3pm. Ok, fine. I'll work from home first thing in the morning and then take the girls in. We get there a few minutes after 10, and discover that the 'passport lady' is on break. Hrm. Only available between 10am and 3pm. Already on a break. Fine. About 10:26 (by the clock on the wall), passport lady returns. The documents and website talk about how you can use Visa, Mastercard, check or money order to pay the fees. Well, unless you apply at a Post Office, where you can only pay by check or money order. I had brought a check, but you have to have a separate check for each application. I had to buy a money order. The ninety cents was trivial, but especially annoying on top of the $40 passport fee, $30 execution fee and a brand new $12 'security surcharge'. At least we'll get the passports back via Priority Mail instead of plain old First Class. So, now we wait 6 weeks.

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