Passport Application

Day 113

Maybe the “13” brought us bad luck today when we went to apply for a passport for Simon.  I thought it’d be a good idea to submit his application now while I was off work since both parents need to be present in order to apply (or else you need to get a notarized letter for the one who isn’t).  So I was trying to be proactive rather than waiting 2 weeks before a trip to rush one.  After looking online here, I printed the necessary forms and gathered all the other necessary documents to make the trip to the passport agency.

One useful tip I have for passport photos, Walgreens photo centers are able to print out passport photos in store.  It was only $8.99 for the two 2 in x 2 in photos.  They can either taken them in store or else you can take them at home and bring in your memory card and they will do the resizing for you.  Just make sure you take the picture with a white backdrop and not too zoomed in to allow for resizing.  For Simon it was easier to take his photo with him lying down on a white blanket so that he wouldn’t keep on moving his head around.  I actually ended up going to Walgreens on the corner of Powell St/Sutter St three times but the employees there were very helpful until we got Simon’s picture correct.  I’m glad we have a Walgreens so close to us.  First I went to have him take the photos there but he wouldn’t look at the camera so then they mentioned I could submit my own photo.  I went home to take a picture then went back a second time but the photo was too zoomed up so they couldn’t size it correctly, the top of Simon’s head got chopped off.  Finally the third time I went back, it worked out and we were able to print it.  Actually all three times they printed it for me but I didn’t have to pay for the first two.  So this is an affordable way to have passport photos done besides doing them at home yourself.  We went to this place in Chinatown to ask how much it would be to do passport photos for a baby and they said $18!

So after that was finally taken care of, we went to the SF Passport Agency to submit his application.  Upon arrival, we found easy parking but it was $3.50 an hour which we paid in change.  We weren’t able to make an appointment since we didn’t have actual travel plans but online, it makes it seem like you can go to the Passport Agency to submit the application and is one of the only places you can go with a minor under 16.  There were three guards at the entrance and they asked if we made an appointment and although we said “no”, they still let us in.  It was almost empty in the agency, only two or three others waiting and maybe 6 employees that we could see in the various windows, only 2 were helping the customers.  There is not much signage to tell you where to go so we went to wait at the Will Call window.  After a few minutes, a lady came out and asked us what we needed and we told her we wanted to apply for a passport for our baby.  She asked when we were traveling and before we even completed our answer that we weren’t traveling soon, she pulled out a sheet of paper directing us to City Hall instead.  She said there were no more appointments available today (it was about 1pm).  The place was seriously empty so we couldn’t understand how they would not take our application since we were already there.  The man who was at the window basically wouldn’t help us either and said it’s policy that they only do emergency passport applications and that we had to go to City Hall.  We mentioned that the website is misleading then and his answer was “The website is made in Washington, D.C., we have nothing to do with it”.

So after wasting $3.50 for parking, going through security, and the disagreeable employees, we headed to City Hall.  After calling City Hall, the wait would be long and they only accept check or money order for the passport and only cash or check for the processing fee.  For Simon, the passport would cost $60 and the processing fee is $25.  We had to drop by home to pick up our checkbook since the Passport Agency takes credit card and I did not bring my checkbook.

Once we got to City Hall around 1:30pm, the guards were much nicer and friendly and more willing to help.  They directed us to the correct place (Room 140) to apply for passports.  We were number 71 and they were on 40.  So I waited around while Ron went home to do some work.  Luckily Simon wasn’t fussy today so it wasn’t too negative of an experience.  Simon had a good meal and konked out for a while.  Other babies crying kept on disturbing his sleep but since he was so tired, he fell right back to sleep when I started to walk around.


When they reached 60, it was 2:50pm.  Then they called 61-65 and no one was there so went straight to 66 so I texted Ron to come back. While I waited for Ron to come back, I spoke with the mom of a family traveling to India 10 days from now.  She didn’t realize until a few days ago that her son’s passport expired, she had forgotten that passports for minors expire in 5 years rather than 10 years for adults.  She had made an appointment by phone for the SF Passport Agency but the only available appointment was for 9 days from now which was the day before they were to leave and it is a Friday.  So she decided to go to the SF Passport Agency today and they told her they couldn’t help her without an appointment for today and sent her to wait at City Hall too.  She was number 79.  Both her and her husband had taken the day off work and came all the way from San Jose.  Now does that make sense to you?  The SF Passport Agency says they only help people who are traveling within 2 weeks but they wouldn’t help this family?  Instead they need to wait at City Hall and pay extra for expedited service and extra fees for processing then return to SF again to pick up their passport since they can’t rely on the mail?  Same-day processing is available at the SF Passport Agency but they just seemed unwilling to help them save a trip to SF and save the family from losing further income from taking additional days off.

Also, after talking to her, I found out that we could have just gone into the post office to do the same thing we were doing at City Hall.  The obstacle for us not being able to mail in the application was that both of us need to take an oath that we are providing accurate information for his application.  Apparently they do this at the post office too… if I had only known…

Our number finally came up around 3:30pm and the process was relatively quick.  The only thing that seemed out of place was that Ron had to go to the cashier to pay the $25 processing fee and that took about 5 minutes.  But I guess it gives the employee time to fill out the receipt which is mostly handwritten and so they also don’t need to be responsible for handling cash.  We should receive his passport in 4-6 weeks.

Happily leaving City Hall… I can imagine it being a nice place to take wedding photos.


After we got home, nothing too exciting.  Simon seemed unphased by our frustrations and continued content throughout the day.  So the SF Passport Agency failed us today but according to Yelp, they are really helpful when it comes to emergency situations but non-emergencies, it seems like they could care less and would rather just send you away as if it is someone else’s problem.

Simon has discovered sleeping on his side and I’m probably letting him do all the things they don’t recommend for babies to sleep: stuffed animals in the bed, loose blankets, and almost sleeping on his tummy.


He was sleeping wrapped up but wriggled himself out and on his side.  Then he pulled the blanket over his face and was gripping onto Pooh’s shirt.  I wasn’t as worried about the blanket since he was sucking on a pacifier so it kept his airway open.  I didn’t want to disturb his nap too much as I tried to move the blanket away from his face but he would start whimpering when I tried so I just left it there.

Ron is getting Simon closer to his goal of holding onto his own milk bottle.  Now he will even push it in and out of his mouth a bit, out so that he can breathe, in when he wants to drink.

Ron says: “Look!  No hands!”


Simon is favoring the bottle again and is being fussy with breastfeeding again.  Now I trick him by dripping a few drops into his mouth before having him latch on.  He will latch on most of the time but sometimes he will still refuse.  I’m trying to prepare as best I can for going back to work next week so have been breastfeeding once in the morning and once before his bedtime.  I’ve also been trying to wake up and stay up in the morning to get myself used to the schedule of waking up and heading to work.  Yesterday I failed to wake up myself at 6:30am and fell back asleep until Simon woke up at 7:30am but then stayed awake.  This morning I also didn’t wake up myself early enough and waited for Simon to wake up which was 10 minutes before 8am.  But at least I’m able to stay awake all day long, it’s just waking up in the morning that’s still the problem.  I have a few more days to work on it and then I’ll just have to suck up and do it on Monday.  I think it is probably hard because I still wake up around 2:30am to pump so I’ve disturbed my deep sleep cycle and it’s just not the same going back to sleep after that.  Well, as I said, a few more days to work on it so we’ll see how it goes.

1 thought on “Passport Application

  1. min

    the gov’t does not make any sense… this is why people hate public employees and politicians

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