Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Passports and Renewals

Diplomatic passports (unlike tourist passports) are only good for 5 years, doesn't matter your age or rank. Which means we're up for renewal. Our passports expire in October, we travel in July, we need visas before then, time to submit is now.

Aside from the various paperwork we had to gather (birth certificates for the kids, passport applications, letter from the HR Tech saying we actually are going to Post since our Orders are nowhere in sight yet), we also need passport photos.

If you get your passports done at Main State, they can take your photos for you. For our initial passports that's what we did. The photos were terrible, most of us were so washed out we didn't have noses but simply Voldemort-style nostrils. The second time we took our own with a white wall behind us and a plain point-and-shoot camera in hand. Assuring the image was an inch tall and the photo itself 2"x2" was a bit of a pain, but doable.

This time we also took our own photos and followed the guidelines set out on the Passport Photo Requirements Page off travel.state.gov The images turned out fine, but the sizing was still going to be a nuisance. Until further down the page you find a link to use the Department of State's photo tool. Upload your photo, adjust, crop and save to your computer. Place them all in a word document (or whatever you wish), print on photo paper, cut out, and done. I've saved the document for future use. Like the pounds of photos needed for visa applications. The ones needed for IDs in Jordan. Two more for each kids' school application.

Just make sure you use good quality photo paper, and that your printer has plenty of good quality ink in its wells.

FSI hosts a "passport office" on Tuesdays. My recommendation, to not garner the disdain of the folks who gather the paperwork, is make copies of everything. Everything. If you have kids, make copies of the parent passports for each kid. Orders or passport authorization forms or whatever you have that says "you are allowed to get your passports renewed," make copies for every application. Make copies of the kids' birth certificates, since you hand over the originals which if you're me makes you very very nervous.

If you don't go to FSI, you can go to Main State and get the same stuff done. Though they'll probably call you or email you or text you or something to let you know they're ready to be picked up. The passport folks at FSI won't, and they'll tell you that right up front.

So in a week, or not, Ian will be checking back to see if they are ready for pick-up. At least our photos don't look too horrible this time.

No comments:

Post a Comment