- Both parents and the child applying for the passport must be present or provide a notarized form (HERE) signed by the absent parent
- If both parents cannot be present, a notarized statement from the absent parent must be presented at the time of application. "Both parents have to be there or you have to have a legal notarized form from the non-present partner that they give you their consent in their absense, etc. I think this is to ensure that you're not kidnapping your child out of the country without your partners knowledge."
- Original birth certificates must be presented; copies will not be accepted
- Passport photos must meet specific requirements in terms of facial dimensions and photo size
- Research what photography stores offer passport photo services
- Passport application forms can be downloaded from the post office’s official website and prepared in advance
- "And use blue pen! I had to redo all my forms. It actually wasn't terrible to fill things out there, but it added time."
What you need to know about getting a passport at the post office:
- Research which post offices are able to process applications. Also, some post offices such as Van Brunt station can process applications but ONLY do so during certain restricted hours—call in advance to avoid unnecessary trips!
- "Just to say what has already been said -- we did the post office and it took about 15 minutes all in. But you do have to make an appt ahead of time, which was very easy."
-"I always make an appointment at my local USPS via their website. Here's the link."
You can also go to the Brooklyn Public Library:
- Did you know you can get passports AND photos at the Park Slope Central Library branch? Read what parents say about the process HERE, what you need, and more.
- "We didn't make an appointment, we just showed up at the Brooklyn Public Library before their Passport Office 15 minutes before it opened. Several minutes after they opened, we spoke with someone to check in. They gave us a buzzer (like at Shake Shack) to let us know when it was our turn. We waited in the cafe area of the library for 20 minutes. Then we got buzzed and the appointment itself took 15 minutes. We had the application already filled out and the photos already taken. Surprisingly easy." (5/2017)
Or take it yourself using one member's helpful instructions:
- "I took my own picture at home in front of a white wall, then took the following steps:
1) Downloaded the picture into Photos on my Mac and lightened up the picture as needed using the edit button
2) To get the picture into the correct sizing and position requirements, used 123passport.com for $6. The site also has options to whiten and clear out your background
3) Uploaded the photo onto the CVS website and had it printed out at 9th street. Picked it up and spent $0.33
5) Carefully cut one of the six 2x2 pictures out (they are printed on a 4x6 sheet with 6 copies) to staple to my passport application"
Tips for making the passport process happen faster:
- Request an expedited birth certificate from the hospital and then use vitalchek.com to request it as soon as it’s submitted.
- See if you can sign up for a Central Library passport appointment before you get the birth certificate—that way when the birth certificate arrives, you can immediately start the process.
- "We got our daughter's passport through the NY Passport Agency. Call immediately when their phones open to book an appointment less than a week in advance (and within 72 hours of your trip). You may need to call multiple days; treat it like you're trying to get Beyonce tickets, be persistent."
- "Once you've submitted the passport application, you should reach out to your local representatives. We learned that checking on the status and helping to expedite the passport process is one of the services they provide. We reached out to Schumer, Gillibrand and our local Bed Stuy rep, Hakeem Jeffries. We got the most immediate help from Jeffries' office. They replied very quickly with directions on filling out a privacy release form so they can inquire with the passport agency on your behalf. We were freaking out as we had an impending international trip and even though we did the expedited service for our kid's passport, it was taking a long time. Honestly not sure if at the end of the day their assistance helped or if it was just based on our travel dates, but her passport arrived literally the day before we were about to travel. I forget the name of the department that helps you but it's pretty easy to figure out once you go on the rep's website. Just send an inquiry and they'll get back to you. Good luck!"
- "The passport agency on Hudson St is the only source I know of that is reliable."
- "Rushpassport.com is my go-to for this. They are efficient and professional."
- "We were able to get an appointment for our 5-year-old one week after we searched (a few weeks ago) by expanding our search to other post offices. The Van Brundt post office in Red Hook had a lot more appointments than the Brooklyn central library, for example. ... Here’s a good link where you can search by location:"
- "There is a $410 secret expedited service fee that I will share with you:
On Mondays Jetblue flies from JFK to Ontario, California. You then drive 2h out to the middle of the desert towards Las Vegas to the Post Office of Newberry Springs.
Next-day appt available!
This worked well 3 months ago when it was impossible to get an appt anywhere in NYC. Got the passport in about a month and a half and got to see what real-life breaking bad looked like."
Other Useful Links & Resources:
Park Slope Parent Member tips on where to get passport photos in Brooklyn
Brooklyn Public Library Central Branch is also a passport acceptance facility
Tip: the zip code search allows you to find which post offices, clerks of court, public libraries and other state, county, township, and municipal government offices accept passport applications
Tip: Provides detailed information regarding the special requirements for children applying for passports
Allows you to submit information on the issue you need help with and receive a response from one of the senator's staff.
2017 member experiences about passport for baby:
- "I went [to Grand Army Plaza] on a weekday over the summer while I was on maternity leave and it took about 3 hours in all. You can wait in the library or right out front and they give you a pager.I have heard that the post office is very quick if you make an appointment ahead of time."
- "I went on a weekday over the summer while I was on maternity leave and it took about 3 hours in all. You can wait in the library or right out front and they give you a pager.I have heard that the post office is very quick if you make an appointment ahead of time."
- "I went on a Friday when it first opened (11?) and there was no wait. After an hour there was more people - like a 30 min wait."
- "Yes, the post office was less than 10 minutes. You need an appt though."
- "We did the library on a Wednesday shortly after they opened. As long as you have all of your photocopies, forms filled out, and the picture, it took 20 minutes."
- "We did the library too, right when it opened (@ 11:00) on a Saturday. There's a story time at 10:00 that we went to first, just because we were there. Overall, the passport part took about 30 minutes. One suggestion I'd make is to lurk around the door to the passport office before it opens until you get your name on a list. We didn't realize they were doing that to keep the hallway clear (fire hazard), so we ended up waiting a little longer than we would have."
- "We did the library on a weekday too, after a nap so not right when they opened but early in the day, all in all took about an hour or less, we hung out with the pager in the children's library so it was a fun wait."
- "We waited around 2.5-3 hours on a chilly saturday a few weeks ago. I was about to lost patience before the baby did. Once we sat down with someone, we were done in 15 minutes though."
- "Yes sounds like the library wait time can be dependant on how much staff they have that day. When I went in the summer, I was told that they were understaffed that day so that's why the wait was so long. Even though we were there for 3 hours from start to finish it wasn't that bad because baby slept in her stroller, I had lunch, we went to the children's play area and interacted with the other babies... but if you want to guarantee that its quick, making an appt at the post office will be your best bet. Good luck! My daughter was 2 months old when we did her passport and she is drooling in the photo lol!"
- "We got G.y's passport on a Friday around 1pm. Our intention was to go as soon as it opened assuming it wouldn't be as busy, but we didn't experience much of a wait regardless. The gave us a buzzer like you'd get at an Applebee's, and we walked around the library for maybe 20 minutes before it was our turn. The process itself was no more than 5-10 minutes. Make sure to have everything filled out in advance. Oh, and don't use whiteout if you make a mistake - I learned that the hard way and had to start from scratch."
Advice on passport expiration:
Note that number of countries, particularly in Europe, now require that your passport's expiration date must be at least six months after you are scheduled to return from your destination. That means if you are traveling to France in October 2016 and your return trip is November 1, 2016, your passport's expiration date must be after May 1, 2017. Thus, if your return trip from France is November 1, 2016 and your passport expires, for instance, on December 20, 2016, the airline will not allow you to board the airplane in the U.S. for France. Some countries require an expiration date in advance less than six months. PSP recommends that you check with the destination nation to learn its regulation before booking your flights in order to find out whether you need to renew your passport before you travel.
Advice from the US Department of State website about getting an expedited passport:
"If you are leaving on an emergency trip, apply in person at the nearest passport agency, presenting your tickets or airline-generated itinerary, as well as other required items listed in this publication. To ensure that customers with imminent travel receive their passports in time for their trips, many passport agencies are now only operating by appointments and are generally serving only those leaving in less than 14 days.
If you do not live near a passport agency, but your overnight delivery service is reliable, departures within 7 to 10 business days may often be accommodated by appointments at a nearby passport acceptance facility. You will need to pay the additional $60 fee for expedited service and include a self-addressed, prepaid, two-way, overnight delivery envelope. For all those customers leaving within 6 or fewer business days, apply at a passport agency. Whichever way you apply, be sure to include your departure date and travel plans on your application.”
Advice from PSP members about getting expedited passports:
The New York City Passport Agency is at 376 Hudson Street, Tel. number for appointments is 212-206-3500. It is open from 7:30am-3:00 Monday thru Friday, but by appointment only – so make sure to call and schedule a time first!
Some Park Slope parents have been able to get same-day passports from the Passport Agency in extenuating circumstances as well.
Others have recommended rushmypassport.com as a means to get their passport quickly.
Local Passport Acceptance Facilities, such as the 9th Street Van Brunt Station Post Office and Brooklyn Grand Army Plaza LIBRARY also can provide expedited service for additional fees.
VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: "I've been there-having discovered my passport was expired the day before leaving the country. You have a few options. First-I think you're probably safe with the Hudson St. office - I've never heard of them not being able to give you your passport on the same day, if you pay the last-minute surcharge. However, when you call the main passport number at the State Department, there is (as I recall) a long series of voicemail options that ends with the chance to talk to an operator. I know this is extreme, but I was able get a same-day appointment in Philadelphia. The people in that office are very nice! It was about a four-hour wait from start to finish. So, to be on the safe side, that's an option. There's also an office in Hartford, I think, where you can get an appointment sooner. You can also call Sen. Shumer or Gillibrand's offices. They have constituent-service staff who can sometimes intervene, perhaps getting you an appointment sooner on Hudson Street. It can't hurt to try. Finally, have you talked to the people in the passport office at the Brooklyn Public Library? I think they may be able to expedite a passport, too, and you can just walk in without an appointmet."
"I've used RUSH Passport in Herald Square many times in the past, when I need visas ASAP for all my global work travel. They also were able to get a couple of my employees renewed passports in less than 48 hours! They are amazing (but of course you'll pay a premium for their services). Maybe call them first to ensure they can do it for you: https://rushpassport.com"
"If you go online to US Passport Office, 376 Hudson Street, you can make an appointment to get an expedited passport within days if you have proof (such as an airline ticket) you are leaving the country within two weeks. You'll need to print out the appropriate forms online and take them with you, along with a passport photo that you can have taken at the CVS on Ninth St., and an appointment confirmation number. I just did this and had my passport in 24 hours, went to Hudson St. twice, the first visit took 15 minutes, the second 5, to pick up the new passport.. $110.00 for the new passport, $60.00 for the expedite fee." (December, 2018)
2020 advice from members on where to have passport photos taken to UK specifications (45mmx35mm as opposed to USA 51mm x 51mm):
Walgreens: "I don’t know if they will do it digitally but Walgreens can get you passport photos for any country you need. They take the photo and upload it into their printing machine, which has a pull down menu for all the countries and their specifications (though I found to helpful to read up on those - France doesn’t want you to smile and hair must be pulled back, e.g.)"
Photoreal: "When I needed photos for my UK work visa, I went to Photoreal on Court Street, near Jorelemon and borough hall. Now, this was pre-pandemic. The place is just above street level and tiny, also a little stuffy. Not sure what precautions they’re taking in light of everything going on, but they produced UK-sized photos for me so it’s an option!"
Accurate Photoshop: "Accurate photoshop in South Slope will do this. Family run, very kind."
Manhattan Field Offices and Post Office Comments from Park Slope Parents Members:
217 E 70th St
- "We showed up twice in Brooklyn (after we had an appointment, and then the person who processed passports was not available.
A person standing in line in the post office (seeing our frustration having gone twice to no avail) recommended us to go to Manhattan, Lenox Hill post office on 70 street, as they do this all the time, have a lot of expertise etc.
So that is what we did.
When we were there the process was very easy and people were knowledgeable, well worth the trek to Manhattan.
Both my husband and I went, we thought it was much easier. I think there is a form to fill in if only one of the parents goes, but we went with the 2 of us.
We got the new passports in 4 weeks I think." (3/2021)
376 Hudson Street
- "We chose to get our son’s first passport here because it eliminates the possibility of mail delays and losses, which is helpful when you are dealing with time sensitive materials. You can schedule an appointment within 2 weeks of your trip, and the passports can be ready the same day (7/2006)"
- "We had a very positive experience with this office. We arrived at 9am and received service within 10 minutes. The key is to arrive early and make sure you bring all of your process and application papers. Our passports were ready in about 3 hours (4/2004)"
- "This location was very organized and the staff was very helpful. We did not spend the extra money to expedite our passport, but received it in 2.5 weeks nonetheless (4/2006)."
38th and 8th Avenue
The staff members were very nice and patient with our child. We did the expedited service and got our child’s passport within a week. This office handles a lot of passport applications, so staff members know which photos are acceptable and can also help you with the application forms. I’ve never had to wait in line for more than 5 minutes (5/2006)
9th Street Post Office (Van Brundt)
- "This site does not offer passport photo services (4/2006)."
- "We tried to apply for our son’s passport numerous times at this location, but our experience was very troublesome. The office was so disorganized that we decided not to file our paperwork there (11/2004)."
- "We found the staff members and services here to be careless. Evidently when the postal clerk is out sick, no staff member can substitute for that position. Earlier this summer, a clerk failed to witness the signature of one parent, the passport failed to arrive despite purchasing the expedited service option, and staff members provided ambiguous information regarding our application’s status (11/2004)."
Country Clerks Office
- "The County Clerks Office (360 Adams Street) has a window for processing passports. The other day when I was there there was no one waiting. There was however a notice saying all passports were taking at least 12 weeks. (June, 2007)."