Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting a passport for baby under 3 years old

We just submitted our passport application for Tristan, who is now 17 months old. Hooray! Unlike France, where parents only need to acquire passports for their children once they turn 15, here in Canada, we have to get one right away. I remember my brother in-law once told me that someone even tried to get a passport for their unborn child so that everything would be ready for them to travel once they had their baby. Unfortunately, it is not possible without a passport picture.

Last Saturday, we got Tristan's passport pictures. To our surprise, finding someone to take the pictures for us was the challenge. The closest people near us that do passport pictures was Shoppers Drug Mart but they messed up once for Jean-Louis and we vowed never to go there again for passport pictures. This time we went to London Drugs first but found out that they usually only take pictures for kids 6 years and up. They explained that the flash that they use is normally too bright for babies since their flesh is still quite transparent. We had a small trial just to see how it would turn out but it was a failure. They recommended we go to a portrait studio since they have special lighting for babies. I really wanted to get them done right away so I made a few calls. Apparently, Sears does them and there is no appointment necessary. Knowing Sears, it could be a bit of a wait though. I checked out Google Maps on our phone and found two portait studios close to where we were but they didn't do passport pictures. Luckily, one of the studios I called was very helpful and suggested Foto Fun to us. It was awesome! The guy that helped us got the picture on his first attempt. It took 2 seconds. It was so painless that he decided to just charge us $12.99 instead of $19.99, which is what they normally charge for baby photos. Yeah, Foto Fun rocks! Minutes later, we had our pictures. Tristan's mouth was a bit open still and his head could be straighter. The photographer at Foto Fun said that the passport guys are much more lenient on babies under 3 years. Good enough for me! It should be fine because Tristan will likely stare at the custom officer with his mouth open anyway :)

Filling out the child application was pretty straightforward. We got our application at our nearby post office at Shoppers Drug Mart. It was two pages long and quite painless to fill out. Since I was the applicant, Jean-Louis was able to be Tristan's guarantor. I thought that was totally awesome!

Today, I went down to the Surrey Passport Office at the Gateway skytrain station to submit Tristan's application. I ended up having to make two trips since I forgot to bring his birth certificate. I still can't believe that happened. Luckily, the office was only a 20 minute skytrain trip for me. It was around 11:10AM when I arrived the second time and I was done around 11:45AM. I was pleased it went so smoothly. The only ID I had to provide, as the applicant, was my driver's license. The passport will be mailed to us as a registered mail on May 7th. I thought I would have to pick it up since that was what Jean-Louis had to do for his but maybe they changed their rules or maybe it's different for baby applications? In any case, I was happy to hear that :)

The last time I was at a passport office, I went downtown and it took hours. I remembered arriving around opening time too. For those of you in Greater Vancouver, avoid downtown if possible and just go to Surrey. It's so much faster! The building at Gateway is quite new too, I think. Phew! I am so glad that is over and done with for us :)


JohnBenjamin said...

i need a passport so badly i will pay or give anything you need of USA.

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