Thursday, July 30, 2020

Family Travel Abroad Documentation: Passports

So you're moving 5 people to China... How do you even begin to prepare the travel documents for that many people? 

One step at a time. 

Start with what will take the longest, which will be your passports. I was so nervous about turning in my passport application. I didn't want to stand in a long line and wait forever. I was also stressed about the picture. Where should I have it taken? Should I take my own at home? Will the quality be good enough? Here I come with some tips that will make this easier and less overwhelming for you! 

  • It's ok to do one passport at a time. Unless you have some money saved up, this may be the only financially reasonable option. We started with mine. The cost was $110 for the passport, $15 for getting the picture taken at the post office, and $35 for the post office processing fee. A total of $160. Getting my application turned in first made it less overwhelming to work on everyone else's passports. 

  • Make an appointment at the post office. Yes, you can make a special passport appointment! Then you don't have to wait in line and it's quick and easy. 

  • Complete your application online and print it. Fill everything out, and have it printed and ready before you go. Don't sign it, you will do that there. 

  • Take your picture at the post office. It's $15 which is the same price as most drug stores. Save yourself the stress and get it done in one place. They will also provide you with an extra picture that you can use for your Visa application. This way you are sure the photo meets all of the requirements. 

  • Make black and white copies before you go. Make a copy of the front and back of your ID or Driver's License, and your Birth Certificate. 

  • Bring your checkbook. The $110 passport fee will be sent separately by check or money order. You can purchase a money order there at the post office, but bring your check book to make it easier. The other $50 you can pay by debit card or credit card. 

  • Picture tip: I was told you can smile a little, as long as you can still see the whites of your eyes. I thought I had a little smile in my picture, but I definitely do not, haha! 

I hope this post was helpful for you and makes the passport process seem a little less overwhelming. Thank you for following the adventure! -Michelle

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