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Need a Passport Quickly? Be Ready

April 29, 2018 GMT

Q: “Dad, I think my passport expired. How am I going to get on the plane for our vacation on Monday?”

A: “Son, don’t worry. Passports expire every 10 years. We got yours 5 1/2 years ago.” (Dad looks at passport and confirms the expiration date passed already) (Dad Google searches passport timelines and discovers upsetting news) “Son, you are correct. Adult passports may expire every 10 years, but passports obtained by children under 16 years old, expire every five years.” Yikes, now what?

With one business day before travel, Dad researches “how to get an expedited passport” online. The government websites give no hope. Special companies offer expedited turnaround, but require $429 per child, and give no promise of success. Finally, Dad turns to Facebook.

Fortunately, many of Dad’s friends have been in the same boat. Each advise to be at the passport agency at the crack of dawn. So, Dad keeps his kids home from school and together with Mom, visita the Tip O’Neill Federal Building in Boston at 7 a.m. on Friday.

The building opens at 7 a.m., and the agency opens at 8:30. While waiting, beleaguered families arrive one by one. All share identical stories, some coming straight from the airport.

Ultimately, after four hours, I am told ... I mean, the dad is told to return at 4 p.m. to pick up the new passports. The process went smoothly, and the family is allowed to travel on their long-planned vacation.

Some tips:

Bring a certified copy of your kid’s birth certificate.

Bring travel itinerary or plane ticket substantiating the emergency.

Passport photos can be taken and printed quickly at any CVS.

Both parents need to attend (unless one parent signs a notarized authorization form, or a court order confirms a single parent’s custody).

Above all, don’t stress as much as the dad in this story. The passport agency gracefully handles these emergencies every day.

Attorney James Haroutunian practices realestate law, estate planning and probate at 630 Boston Road, Billerica. He gladly invites questions at james@hlawoffice.com or by phone at 978-6710711. His website blog is found at www.hlawoffice.com. This column is published for informational purposes only and not to be relied on as legal advice, in any manner.