This gorgeous weather we have been having is making us dream of palm trees, sandy beaches, and 80 degree temperatures. And for some of you, that might soon be a reality as you start to make your honeymoon plans. One of the most important things to take into consideration in advance is obtaining or renewing your passport. Follow these easy steps to make sure you and your honey are prepared when the time rolls around to jet off on your first blissful vacation together as newlyweds.
Obtaining a New Passport
1. Download form D-11 from the U.S. State Department (state.gov) website and print it. You can complete the form online or print a blank form to fill in offline. You can also pick up a blank D-11 form at Wisconsin post offices or county clerk's offices.
2. If you don't already have a copy of your certified birth certificate, you will need to obtain that. Certified birth certificates have a raised state, city or county seal on them. People born in Wisconsin can get a birth certificate from the state’s Vital Records Service (wisconsin.gov). If you were born in a different state, visit the National Center for Health Statistics (cdc.gov) to find the records division of your birth state.
3. Copy the front and back of your ID onto one sheet of white paper. Both sides of the ID must be on the same side of the paper.
4. Review the passport application locations available in your city or county at the U.S. State Department website. Click through the locations to determine the hours of operation and to find out if you need an appointment.
5. Get your passport photo taken. Some passport application acceptance locations have photo facilities on-site, but charge a separate fee for photos. Drugstores, copy outlets and office supply stores also have passport photo facilities.
6. Make an appointment, if necessary, at the location you have chosen, or go to the passport application agency of your choice during normal business hours. Take the required documents and your completed D-11 form with you. Leave the signature line blank until the passport application agency staff person tells you to sign it.
7. Pay the passport application fee of $110 with a personal check or money order made out to the Department of State. The agency also charges a separate $25 Execution Fee. The accepted forms of payment for this vary.
Note: Passport processing takes about 4-6 weeks from the time you apply so make sure to allow plenty of time for it to arrive. You may also choose to pay an additional $60 fee for expedited processing where you will receive it in about 2-3 weeks. The same applies for passport renewal as well.
Renewing Your Passport
Renewal forms and instructions are available on the internet at travel.state.gov. You can mail a renewal form (DS-82) to the nearest Passport Agency listed on the instructions with the proper fee, one new photo, and your expired passport. You can also expedite renewal forms for an additional $60 fee.
What About Changing Your Name?
If you will be leaving for your honeymoon right after your wedding, your passport (and travel reservations) will need to be in your maiden name, since you will not have officially changed your name yet. What a bummer if you need to order a new passport and then your name will be changing shortly..... Well, I've got good news for you! If you renew your passport after a name chance within 12 months of obtaining the original, there is no charge! You just need to provide proof (i.e. your marriage license). So add this to your name changing to do list, so you are all set for your next vacation!
Time to start mentally packing your swimsuit and shorts, and don’t forget to send us a postcard from your getaway!