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View Full Version : A different kind of passport question


karyn0995
02-13-2012, 11:28 AM
We are making our 1st cruise in September, and while I know technically we don't NEED for our son to have a US passport, our family is in a unique situation where I think he should have one.

Our son joined our family at 14 months old via international adoption. We have his passport from his birth country, but thanks to moving between different states once he was home, we have not yet obtained his US Birth Cert. (**side note...even if we DID have a US B.C. for him, his place of birth would still say the original country, not the US). HOWEVER, he is a US citizen and we have us Citizenship papers to that effect.

In order for us to obtain his US passport we need to send in all of his original adoption paperwork which includes the birth cert. from his birth country, his adoption decree, US Citizen papers, and a few other things which don't aren't coming to mind right now. But the fact is we have to send in the ORIGINALS, no copies allowed. This absolutely terrifies me. If the papers are lost either by the passport agency OR by FedEx/UPS, the only way to get them again is to travel back to his birth country and beg/plead with their authorities. Not a fun thing to go through, and yes we do know adoptive families whose originals were lost for a period of time. They were eventually found but still, the anxiety and stress while the papers were lost was excruciating.

Since we don't have his US Birth Certificate just yet, I am equally uncomfortable lugging around all of our adoption papers, their translations, his US citizens papers, etc. Plus, in an emergency I don't really know that all of that would do any good since citizens of his birth country require a Visa to enter our country??? Ugh! :confused3

So, here's my question. Apparently you can apply in person to your local passport agency (not post office) if you have travel documents stating your are departing w/in 2 weeks. Has anyone tried this and either had success or failure? I'm exploring options for our September cruise, and would feel much better with this option rather than mailing in all of our originals. I spoke w/ the Passport office today and she actually recommended we do this to not only avoid the passport agency potentially losing our papers, but also to avoid issues with the mail system. She also said that many times, you receive the passport while you are there, unless they are just totally overwhelmed that day for some reason. We'd have to pay the $60 rush fee but that's okay by me. I'm just wondering if there is anything that *could* go wrong doing it this way.

Thanks for taking the time to read this lengthy post!

sambycat
02-13-2012, 11:32 AM
Congrats on the addition to your family! I can understand your concern about the documents via mail. The one thing I can assure you though is that as weird as it seems you will get them back. I can't advise you as to how and in what order to do things, but I would want to have back up ID before I sent off all my things?

Good luck!

J/T Gramdma
02-13-2012, 11:41 AM
When my DD needed her passport in less than 2 weeks, we went to the local ofc and she got her passport in less then 5 days. She was born in Japan and her birth cert is a govt form filled out as an ' American born outside of the US'. I had her original passport signed and issued by the us Embassy in Japan.

I did not want the papers or passport to leave our possession and this way I was able to keep the papers and they noted on the application that they had seen the papers and handed them back to us.
hope all works out for you.

nordkin
02-13-2012, 12:04 PM
We went through this with our 3 adopted children from Russia in the early 1990's. We were very aprehensive about sending all the documentation in, but in the end did and received all of them back. We did make copies of everything for our records just in case something got lost. We received their passports in a couple of weeks and the documentation a few days later. We have not let their passports expire since then and now that they are adults we stay on top of them to keep them current so there are no hassles getting a new one. Good luck.

karyn0995
02-13-2012, 12:07 PM
Congrats on the addition to your family! I can understand your concern about the documents via mail. The one thing I can assure you though is that as weird as it seems you will get them back. I can't advise you as to how and in what order to do things, but I would want to have back up ID before I sent off all my things?

Good luck!

Thank you Sambycat! Unfortunately there have been 2 recent families with our agency whose original paperwork (all of it) was lost by the Texas passport office. That office admitted to such, and offered to reimburse them the $425 for the US Citizenship Certificate but as far as getting all of their Russian originals replaced, it is up to the families. Their saga's have been going on for months and of course, the families are just beside themselves. Our agency is assisting as much as they can but there's only so much they can do. It doesn't happen often, and it may not be the fault of the Passport office. UPS or FedEX lost adoptive families paperwork as well. Just kinda scary to think about!

Tass
02-13-2012, 12:43 PM
I don't have an answer for you but I can personally attest to the fact that original documents are lost in the passport process, never to be found. Our daughter's original Adoption Decree was lost earlier this year after submitting it with her Passport application. We were told via letter that they were unable to locate it - "sorry". Thankfully they did not lose her Certififcate of Citizenship. Our daughter was born in Korea, but adopted here in the U.S., so we may be able to replace that original Decree by petitioning the Court. For your situation, I would choose whichever method has the least amount of risk with respect to lost documentation.

Good luck!

betsy918
02-13-2012, 01:26 PM
My daughter is also adopted internationally from China, and her only birth certificate and adoption certificates are in Chinese with English translation attached. I checked DCL, and apparently her certificate of citizenship was not enough, so I went ahead, although apprehensive, and handed over all of the originals at the county courthouse last Nov. where both my husband and I had to go to apply for her passport. They took all of the originals, and they were returned to us in the US mail, separate from her passport, in about 5 weeks. I'm actually glad we have something current from the US with the name we gave her and her birthdate on it. It's going to make registering her for other things like camps, school, etc. so much easier than showing up with all the Chinese papers.

fatfish
02-13-2012, 02:03 PM
My dd is also adopted from China. I took all her docs to the local Post Office that issues passports, filled in the application, and met w the employee who processes passport applications about 3 - 4 months before our first cruise. She reviewed each of dd's docs, and I think she made some copies. I don't recall her keeping any originals. We got dd's passport back by mail a few weeks later.

OP, did I see you are in Texas? We are also in Texas, so I know you can get your child's passport at any Post Office that processes passport applications. I would not wait until 2 weeks before the cruise. I would go as soon as possible. Good luck!!

kcashner
02-13-2012, 02:57 PM
Does your travel have to be within 2 weeks to do the walkthru? If so, what proof of that are you required to have?

As I became a mom thru adoption, I appreciate your concern--I wouldn't leave those documents out of my sight, and I totally agree with the advise of always keeping a current passport (lots easier to replace!).

No advice here--just good luck. And I vote for the walk thru system if at all possible. Big city places offer this for a fee.

karyn0995
02-13-2012, 03:03 PM
My dd is also adopted from China. I took all her docs to the local Post Office that issues passports, filled in the application, and met w the employee who processes passport applications about 3 - 4 months before our first cruise. She reviewed each of dd's docs, and I think she made some copies. I don't recall her keeping any originals. We got dd's passport back by mail a few weeks later.

OP, did I see you are in Texas? We are also in Texas, so I know you can get your child's passport at any Post Office that processes passport applications. I would not wait until 2 weeks before the cruise. I would go as soon as possible. Good luck!!

Hi! Actually, no we are not in Texas, but 3 separate families who used are agency ARE from Texas and each of their originals were lost by the Texas office. :confused: We are in Georgia.

Thanks for the reassurance that you got the passport back! Maybe things have changed from the time your dd's passport was received. Now they do require the originals. :headache:

karyn0995
02-13-2012, 03:05 PM
Does your travel have to be within 2 weeks to do the walkthru? If so, what proof of that are you required to have?

As I became a mom thru adoption, I appreciate your concern--I wouldn't leave those documents out of my sight, and I totally agree with the advise of always keeping a current passport (lots easier to replace!).

No advice here--just good luck. And I vote for the walk thru system if at all possible. Big city places offer this for a fee.

Hi and thank you! If we do the walk-through in the Atlanta office, we do have to show them travel documents that state we are traveling withing 2 weeks. So if we go on the September cruise, we wouldn't be able to get an appointment until the middle of August. I'll post back here whatever ends up happening!

karyn0995
02-13-2012, 03:11 PM
I don't have an answer for you but I can personally attest to the fact that original documents are lost in the passport process, never to be found. Our daughter's original Adoption Decree was lost earlier this year after submitting it with her Passport application. We were told via letter that they were unable to locate it - "sorry". Thankfully they did not lose her Certififcate of Citizenship. Our daughter was born in Korea, but adopted here in the U.S., so we may be able to replace that original Decree by petitioning the Court. For your situation, I would choose whichever method has the least amount of risk with respect to lost documentation.

Good luck!

YIKES!! What a nightmare, and exactly what I am trying to avoid. I hope it works out for you!

megalyce
02-13-2012, 06:29 PM
When I first got my passport, I lived outside Washington DC and needed it in four days. I went to the passport office (with all of my docs, photos, app, etc.), appeared in person, they took the docs and told me a time the next day to come back and my passport was ready.

Now, there was a LOT of waiting around and I had to pay quite the fee, however, it was done in 24 hours and all of my documents remained local.

Given your unique situation, I would be surprised if they turned you away at your local office. In fact, it might even be better for you to appear in person, so if there are any questions, etc., they can be taken care of right then. It's worth a shot if you've got the time. In the off chance they require something additonal (that would take more than two weeks to get, notarized copies of things, etc.) you would have the extra time.

My two cents.