First, I need to get a passport

I had a passport many years ago when I was a teenager, but I lost it.  So now I have to go through the whole process of getting a passport again.  According to the government website, since this is not peak season, I can get a passport in about 4 weeks.  If I want to pay extra to get it expedited, I can get it in 2 weeks.

This is what I need to do:

1.  Get a copy of my certified birth certificate.  Unfortunately, I do not have one.  So, I visited my state’s department of health and human services website where I can fill out an online form and, for a small fee, they will send one to me in about 2 weeks.  Luckily, I live in a state where it is this easy.  In states that border Mexico, it can be a real hassle to get a birth certificate and can take weeks, if not months.

2.  Fill out a DS-11 form.  They provide this online and I can even fill it out online, but I have to print it and cannot sign it until I am indicated to do so by an authorized agent.  The form asks me to fill out basic information, nothing too hard.

3.  Get a passport photo.  I know Walgreens does this.  I will have to stop into to a Walgreens photo counter where they will have me stand in front of a white screen.  I can’t have anything on my head (no hat, sunglasses, ear buds, etc.) and they have to be able to see my ears.  The photo specialist will then print out two copies of my photo and cut them into the correct size (2 x 2 inches).  It’s very important they get this correct because the head has to measure a certain length and there is a certain length requirement between your chin and the bottom of the photo.  The Walgreens photo specialist actually uses a little device that allows them to cut out the photos nearly perfectly every time.

4.  Present identification.  This should be pretty easy since I have a driver’s license.

That’s it.  When I have these completed I take my materials in, pay the fee and then wait for 2-4 weeks.  With everything I have to do, I am planning on receiving my passport in about 6 weeks (unless I decide to pay the extra amount to get it expedited).

Next, I will be researching destinations.

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