Adventures in Renewing My Passport


When we first decided to travel to Canada/Mexico, I realized I would need to renew my U.S. Passport. I have had one for about 9 years, but it had my maiden name on it, which just won’t work. I started the process of filling out the proper forms, but got stuck on getting my passport photos. They had to have a neutral background, proper lighting, etc. and I kept putting it off. Once we decided to travel overseas to Europe, I knew there was no more time for procrastinating. We only had about a month before we would be leaving. The U.S. Passport site said that normal processing times were 4-6 weeks, which meant my only choice was to pay extra for it to be expedited.

When I got my first passport, my dad took my picture and we printed it out at home (I think) before taking it to the post office. I tried taking my picture at home and then had to position it properly and figure out where to get it printed. I tried uploading it to a photo printing service, but it kept telling me it was too small or needed to be resized (passport photos have to be 2″x2″ with the face a specific size and whatnot). So, after spending far too long on getting my picture just right, I gave up and paid CVS $10 to take a quick and dirty passport photo. I rushed it off to the post office on April 8th, overnighted everything to the U.S. Passport agency (even putting in my in-laws’ mailing address since I didn’t think it would get here before we left our apartment on April 30th) and waited.

It turns out “good enough for government work” is pretty good! My brand new passport arrived at my in-laws’ house TODAY – only 5 days after I sent it off. That’s less than a week! If my mother-in-law hadn’t sent me a photo of the new passport, I would be in even more of a state of disbelief.

We are now doubly-officially ready for our trip! Plane tickets are purchased, passports are ready and we are wrapping up projects at work. Life is good.

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