Well for those of us out there that want to take advantage of FREE or low cost international travel you came to the right post. However before you can travel you gotta get those docs!
Here is the official link to US department of state.
First thing you have to do is make an appointment at your local post office or passport agency 8weeks out! This will save you money and stress of having to rush. If you know your travel dates book the appointment when you book your tickets. If you don’t have time there are plenty of offices that will take you 2weeks before your travel date with a confirmed ticket and 60$ charge. Expedited travel passport agencies.
After you have your appointment put aside your documents.
a. Fill out the DS-11 form online and print it BUT DO NOT SIGN IT. You can also grab one of these at the agency, however it will make your process a bit longer.
b.You will need an official birth certificate.
c. Two parents in person with IDs or passports present.
d. Also a photocopy of your ID in color, some agencies may do this but it also ads time and sometimes they will charge you for it. If one parent can’t make the appointment you can get the DS-3053 form notarized. (online there is more information for unique parental situations.)
e. Bring a Photo!
note* Some agencies require proof of travel outside the country in the form of a ticket.
To stay organized we kept all her information in a neat little binder.
For our little princess taking at home passport photos was the best option. When you have a baby everything takes longer so put aside an extra hour. If your LO is a squiggler like mine then its hard to get them in one spot for to long. You would think taking a snap of your LO for passport photos would be easy, however they are very specific.
Use a white background. Put your baby on a sheet or blanket that is plain white. Not fancy smacy fur or white with any touches, just a plain ol’ sheet or piece of paper. Use good lighting. You don’t need fancy lighting just the room and natural lighting is fine. A camera or camera phone works amazing. I6 brags about their amazing HD pics so why not just use something you LITERALLY have in your hand.
Here are a few of the pics we took. As you can see they weren’t all the pro-fesh ones she usually has. Some were blurry, some were to large, some were to bright, some weren’t framed correctly. We also didn’t know exactly how much of her cute lil’ face we should have in the photo. So we made two prints at home and brought them to the passport office and I’m glad we did because they didn’t approve our first take!
*NOTE – The photo has to have your baby looking at the camera directly. Your photo has to have their face framed and not take up the entire 2″x 2″ square. Your photo has to be in focus and not blurry. Your photo has to have proper lighting not dim lighting. White background, plain photo, no bows, no hats, no glasses etc…
We used IDPHOTO4YOU.com because it was the easiest to use. Honestly it was a pain to try to edit and capture that beautiful 2″ by 2″ on my editing programs. Even on photo shop it was taking forever to get a perfect image. On the website we used it was pick the output size upload the picture pick your country, frame the face, and your done. We had alot of 4×6 photo paper from buying ink cartridges so we printed at home. It was super easy as soon as we had the downloads. *NOTE* To down load the passport 4×4 you need to wait 90 seconds and then a DOWNLOAD blue word appears. You don’t have to click the green download button and download software, just wait the 90seconds and the WORD DOWNLOAD appears in blue under the picture, there is a blue arrow next to the word.
Once you have your completed photo put it in your binder with all other documents and walah you have a baby ready for world travel! 🙂 HOW EXCITING! 🙂