We don’t know anyone who likes standing in line. Whether you’re waiting in line for Hamilton tickets, or for pastries at the trendiest new bakery, or trying to get a new passport, you’ll want to get what you came for in as little time as possible! A record number of passport applications are expected this summer, and that means that the lines at Passport Acceptance Facilities are long and getting longer. Today, we’ll bring out our best tips to make your visit to the Passport Acceptance Agent a quick and successful one. Everyone behind you in line will thank you, too!
Tip 1: Make an Appointment
There are two types of Passport Acceptance Facilities: those that require appointments, and those that take applications on a walk-in basis.
With so many people now applying for passports, you may think it would be easier to go to a walk-in facility. However, you might face a long line of other applicants! It’s worth it to call around first to see if you can get a slot at an appointment-only facility. Having a reserved time to see a Passport Acceptance Agent will mean you’ll be able to get in and out quickly.
If you do need to go to a walk-in facility, try to go early in the morning. You may even want to get there before they open, so you can be at the front of the line! Some facilities will even start turning people away before their closing time if they know they have more people in line than they will be able to service in one day.
Tip 2: Bring the Right People
Applying for a minor passport for your child? Make sure you have the right people with you when you go to the Passport Acceptance Facility!
Many people don’t know that the child needs to appear in person in order to submit a passport application. Even if you are applying for a passport for a newborn, the child applicant must be present when the application is reviewed by the Passport Acceptance Agent.
Both parents also should be present when the passport application is submitted. It’s mandatory that at least one parent must be there in person. If you aren’t able to have both parents go with the child, the parent who isn’t there must have signed and notarized Form DS-3053, the statement of consent. (Your family doesn’t fit the traditional mold of mother, father, and kids? No problem. Check out our article on parental consent for different family situations.)
You don’t want to wait in line to submit your child’s passport application only to be turned away, so make sure you have the right members of your family with you.
Tip 3: Fill Out Forms in Advance
One of the services that Passport Acceptance Facilities offer is that they give out free copies of US passport applications. But don’t wait until you get there to fill out your application! You’ll save time at the Acceptance Facility if you have already filled out your passport application before you get there. You can either download copies and fill them out by hand or fill them out online and print them.
You’ll want to make sure that your passport application is filled out completely and correctly. If you make any mistakes on the application, you will have to fill out another one on the spot, while the line behind you keeps growing.
Just don’t sign your passport application until you are instructed to do so by the Passport Acceptance Agent. The agent needs to witness your signature.
Tip 4: Have Your Photos Ready
Many Passport Acceptance offices offer photo services on-site. This can be a convenient option for people who haven’t had time to go and get their photos beforehand. Most facilities that offer this service charge between $10 to $15 for photos.
But if you’re trying to get in and out of the passport office as fast as possible, you won’t want to wait to get your photos there. Instead, get your passport photos in advance and bring them with you to the passport office. There are many places where you can get passport photos, so you’re sure to find an option that works for you and your schedule.
The other advantage to getting your passport photo in advance is that you’ll have more control over it. If you get your photo taken at the drugstore and you hate it, you can always go get another photo. But if you wait and have your photo taken at the Passport Acceptance Facility, you’re going to be stuck with that photo for the next ten years, good or bad!
Tip 5: Make Your Own Photocopies
You probably already know that you need to bring photo ID with you when you visit the Passport Acceptance Agent. But did you know that you also need to submit a photocopy of your identification?
It makes sense — you can’t send your actual driver’s license in with your passport application. You are going to need it to drive home! Instead, the Passport Acceptance Agent will review your original ID and will seal a photocopy of it into the envelope with the rest of your passport application materials.
If you didn’t bring your own photocopy of your ID, the agent will have to take extra time to photocopy it for you. You’ll also likely be charged a few bucks to have photocopies made. It’s faster and cheaper to make your own copies before you go to the passport office.
Your photocopy of your driver’s license or other ID must show both the front and back of the ID.
Have you been to a Passport Acceptance Facility this spring? Tell us about your experience in the comments!