Passport Day Today

Today is Passport Day, an opportunity to secure passports for the entire family. Do you have yours?

Today is Passport Day, an opportunity to secure passports for the entire family. Do you have yours?

Thinking of traveling outside the U.S. anytime soon? Today has been designated as Passport Day by the U.S. Postal Service. For today only, appointments are not required for customers to apply directly at a regional passport agency.

Why should you care? Possessing a United States passport is no longer an optional item when traveling. New regulations all but require passports, even to places like Mexico and Canada (Canada has a special driver’s license option for some residents). But with the advent of new regulations that took place in 2006, U.S. Passport Agency staff were overrun, overworked, and way, way behind in returning documents and the ultimate passport to customers. Today was designed to help alleviate some of the stress associated with obtaining the important travel document.

Parents should secure passports for every member of the family. They are good for years and are the first step to any sort of international travel, and in Alaska, going international is not too difficult since any road trip venturing south means a stop in Canada. Additionally, parents of teens making trips or student exchanges overseas should always have a valid passport in their possession, in case of illness, accident, or other emergency that might require their appearance in another country quickly. Without it, you are out of luck.

So, what should you do? The Anchorage Main Office of the U.S. Postal Service  will be open from noon-9 p.m. today at their 4141 Postmark Dr. address. I’d go after dinner, frankly, to miss the daytime traffic if you have to take the kiddos.

Here’s the tricky part; what to bring. I’ll list it here to make it as simple as possible, although I have never met a simple Federal process yet…

1. Certified copies of birth certificates, naturalization papers, positive ID (that means driver’s license, military ID, etc.)

2. If anyone in the fam has had a passport in the past, bring it too.

3. If there is a child custody agreement, you MUST have a copy of those documents, and a signed form from the State Department web site showing written agreement from the other parent.

4. An official passport photo. Lucky for you, photographers will be on hand today to take pics, since that can be time-consuming as well. Costco takes passport photos, as does Wal-Mart, and many other photo shops in Anchorage.

5. Any questions? Refer to the State Dept. site above, or call the USPS at 800-ASK-UPS. You can also visit the USPS web site here  for their tips on securing a passport.

Happy upcoming travels. Good luck.  We’ll be posting other information on traveling internationally with kiddos later on. Let’s get those important documents, first.

Posted in General Travel Info, Logistics With Kids.