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Wed Sep 13, 2017, 12:46 PM

My wife and I just renewed our expired passports.

We have no plans to travel outside of the US, but the wonderful State of Minnesota has stalled and stalled on complying with the Real ID law for its driver's licenses. They're finally working on implementing that, but they won't be available easily until after the deadline. You can get an "Enhanced DL" that is compliant for a fee, but there's a catch in that, too:

It seems that Minnesota's department that handles licenses and registrations decided to update the software that handles all of that. For the bargain price of $90 million, they got the new system, installed it, at which time it broke and still isn't working properly. Title transfers, license tab renewals and, of course, driver's licenses are on a very, very slow track these days. So, converting my non-compliant DL to a Real ID-compliant Enhanced DL would take months to complete, and the deadline for needing such a thing is fast approaching.

So, new passports for us. While that takes a bit of time, as well, this is the slow season and we'll have them well in advance of the time we'll need them to get on a plane at MSP or visit the Social Security Office or Federal Courts building, all of which will soon require a Real ID-compliant ID. A Passport will work just fine.

I write this for two reasons: If you live in MN and don't already have an Enhanced DL, check your passport. If you don't have one or it has expired or is about to expire, take care of that soon. You'll avoid the gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair that will soon ensue. Besides, having a current passport is always a good idea. You never know when some rich relative will invite you along on a round-the-world trip on short notice and it would be a shame if you had to decline because you didn't have a passport. Really.

Anyhow, passports now cost $110 with normal processing and 4-6 week delivery, or $170 for expedited processing. Check it out!

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Reply My wife and I just renewed our expired passports. (Original post)
MineralMan Wednesday OP
TeamPooka Wednesday #1
MineralMan Wednesday #5
fierywoman Wednesday #2
MineralMan Wednesday #7
fierywoman Wednesday #12
GoCubsGo Wednesday #3
MineralMan Wednesday #8
Tanuki Wednesday #4
MineralMan Wednesday #9
Major Nikon Wednesday #6
MineralMan Wednesday #10
Major Nikon Wednesday #13
dalton99a Wednesday #11
MineralMan Wednesday #16
Major Nikon Wednesday #17
MineralMan Wednesday #19
Lifelong Protester Wednesday #14
Sentath Wednesday #15
MineralMan Wednesday #18
dalton99a Wednesday #20
Sentath Wednesday #40
iamateacher Wednesday #21
MineralMan Wednesday #23
Neema Wednesday #28
George II Wednesday #22
MineralMan Wednesday #24
PoindexterOglethorpe Wednesday #48
cwydro Wednesday #25
MineralMan Wednesday #26
cwydro Wednesday #29
MineralMan Wednesday #27
cwydro Wednesday #30
MineralMan Wednesday #32
cwydro Wednesday #33
LisaM Wednesday #31
MineralMan Wednesday #36
beaglelover Wednesday #34
MineralMan Wednesday #37
JDC Wednesday #35
MineralMan Wednesday #38
Snake Plissken Wednesday #39
MineralMan Wednesday #41
Snake Plissken Wednesday #42
MineralMan Wednesday #43
Scarsdale Wednesday #44
perdita9 Wednesday #45
PoindexterOglethorpe Wednesday #46
no_hypocrisy Wednesday #47
LeftInTX Wednesday #49

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 12:47 PM

1. This is happening in PA too.

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Response to TeamPooka (Reply #1)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 12:57 PM

5. Stupid move on the part of both states.

Now, they're scrambling to try to catch up, and it's people who live in the state that will suffer from it. I'm royally pissed off at this, but what are you going to do. So, we went up to the city hall and renewed the passports. Took less than an hour door to door, since we filled out the forms on the State Department website.

Speaking of which, the State Department's passport form website sucks big time. The interface sucks, the instructions suck and printing the completed form sucks. Worse, the forms have tiny margins which causes part of the form to be cut off on most printers from the pdf file. You really can't print them from within your browser, but have to use the Adobe Reader desktop app and fudge the printing with the "Shrink to fit" page option box. Same thing happens with IRS Tax forms when you try to print from the browser.

Government websites, in general, suck. It's a sad state of affairs, I think.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 12:51 PM

2. Also: renew passport as it expires or

(if you wait too long, as I did,) showing the old passport no longer works as your ID to the passport agency: you'll have to jump through hoops (and this was pre-Trump, God only knows what it is now!) So: keep those passports valid. You never know when you may want to flee to another country on a moment's notice...

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Response to fierywoman (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:01 PM

7. Yah, it works OK if the old passport was issued less than 15 years ago.

If it's been less than 15, you can use a short form to renew. If it has been longer than that, you can still use an expired passport as proof of citizenship, though. I don't know if that has changed, but it works fine now. You do have to send your old passport along with the application, though. It gets returned.

If you don't have an existing passport, though, you'll need a certified birth certificate or some other proof of citizenship that may be hard to obtain. Qualifying documents are listed on the State Department's passport pages.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #7)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:10 PM

12. Just to share: I renewed a few years ago (at this age, the years all blend together,

don't they?) and my old passport wasn't sufficient as proof of citizenship, ID. I had to include my ORIGINAL birth certificate. What a bear!

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 12:53 PM

3. Ouch!

I wasn't planning to spend that kind of money, but... Mine just expired, and my state also does not comply with Real ID. I guess I had better bite the bullet and get it renewed fairly soon.

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Response to GoCubsGo (Reply #3)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:02 PM

8. Yes. I'd do it sooner rather than later. There's going to be a rush

as the deadline approaches.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 12:55 PM

4. What the heck, you might as well go on a trip abroad now to make it worth your while!

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Response to Tanuki (Reply #4)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:02 PM

9. Maybe we'll drive into Canada, just for the LULZ.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 12:59 PM

6. Brought to you by the party of small government and states' rights



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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #6)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:05 PM

10. Most states complied with the Real ID thing.

Just a few didn't. That still pisses me off about our state. I can't believe that Minnesota let its residents down that way. UGH!

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #10)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:11 PM

13. It should never have became law to begin with

There wasn't a need and taxpayers were left footing the bill to satisfy the GOP's delusional paranoia.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:14 PM

16. Yup.

Don't delay, or you'll have to pay for expedited processing to meet your deadline.

Also, it's best to go to an official Acceptance Center if your old passport has expired. Here in Minnesota, most city halls do it. They'll take your photo, check to make sure everything is correct, and send it in for you. There's typically a $25 fee for the processing and about $10 for the photo, but it saves a lot of time. Find your nearest Acceptance Center on the State Department website in the passport area.

The biggest reason for delays is that people forget to include everything required or miss filling out the form completely. The Acceptance Center folks check all that for you. If they're like the person at our nearby City Hall in an adjacent town, they're friendly, efficient and save you lots of time.

Or, if you live in a major metro area, there's probably a Passport Office there, if you don't mind parking downtown and standing in a long line. They can speed up the process even further for you, for a fee.

The local Acceptance Centers, though, usually have no lines and you can step right up to the counter and be done in just a few minutes, if you have a completed form in hand.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #11)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:15 PM

17. I've never seen it take 6 weeks to get a passport

All of my family has one and they renew at different times. It typically takes 2-3 weeks and I never opt for the more expensive express option. Perhaps I'm just lucky, but I think the reason why 6 weeks is the advertised time is in hopes that people don't bog the system down with inquiries.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #17)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:20 PM

19. Yeah. All of my previous passports have come within three weeks.

A lot depends on when you apply, I think. There are busy and not-so-busy times.

I hate the photo, though, but who cares. Nobody I care about will see it, anyhow.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:12 PM

14. We renewed ours in December.

They expired in May. But you never know.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:13 PM

15. Oh My Gosh, Arizona! What were you thinking?

I wonder which is better? Your idea of getting a passport or the AZ Voluntary Travel ID

https://www.azdot.gov/mvd/driver-services/arizona-voluntary-travel-id/overview

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Response to Sentath (Reply #15)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:16 PM

18. Get the passport.

Every TSA ID checker knows about passports. They may not be familiar with the AZ ID you mentioned at every airport in the nation. Once you show your valid passport, that's it. They always work.

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Response to Sentath (Reply #15)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 01:22 PM

20. DHS says AZ is currently compliant

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #20)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:56 PM

40. Yes, because of the workaround

Rather than directly.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:04 PM

21. We got Global Entry

It comes with an ID card that you can use instead of a passport if you live in a non-compliant ID state. Includes fast checkout through customs and automatic TSA pre-check.

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Response to iamateacher (Reply #21)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:13 PM

23. The airline I fly always puts us on pre-check status

for some reason. I don't know why, unless it's because we always reserve exit row seats. I don't mind carrying my passport, though, at least until I get my DL renewed when it expires. At that time, I'll opt for the Real ID version of the license.

Really, though, it's a good idea to have a valid passport. I mean, when we win the Powerball jackpot, we're going to travel all sorts of places, so I want to have my passport ready.

Here's a funny story, though, about passports. When I started freelance writing as a career, my business card had a line on it that said, : "Valid passport; Will travel" I put that on there as a joke to myself. As if someone was going to give me an assignment that required international travel. As it turned out, though, one publication I sent a query letter to called me and asked if I was available to do a story that required travel to Brazil. "Sure," I told the editor, who had only seen samples of my work. Two days later, I was on a plane. The story didn't pay that well, but the trip was paid for, so it was all good. I wrote up the story about that company's excavating equipment being used at a mine in Brazil as soon as I got back. It was published along with the photos I took. I guess putting that line on my business card turned out to be a good idea.

You just never know when you'll need that passport, I guess.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #23)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:27 PM

28. If you travel out of the country at all, Global Entry is AWESOME. It's not just the pre-check that

comes with it. When you return to the country you don't have to stand in passport lines. You just go up to a machine, scan your fingerprints, answer the questions that are on that form everyone gets (don't bother doing it on the plane), and you're on your way in less than 2 minutes.

Where it's super-duper amazing is if you have a layover coming back in the country. Three times we've had a layover get cut short by a delayed flight, only to discover the line to recheck your bag (which you have to do) was miles long. But just ask someone where the Global Entry line is and you'll breeze through the luggage check and security in minutes. Would have most likely missed all three of those connecting flights if we didn't have Global Entry, so that totally made the cost worth it.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:07 PM

22. Are you flying out of the country or driving to Canada? You can get a passport card...

...cheaper and faster if you're only going up to Canada by car.

Edit: just saw that you're getting on a plane! To others reading, the passport card is only good for crossing the border by car or by foot, they're not recognized at airports.

Also, renewing a passport is much quicker and easier if you do it before your current passport expires or within a short period after it expires.

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Response to George II (Reply #22)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:17 PM

24. I'm just covering the possibilities by getting my passport

renewed. I always travel wearing a sports coat or blazer, since the pockets are useful in the TSA line. It will actually be easier to show a passport than to dig my wallet out and extract my DL. It will fit in one of the inside pockets neatly.

But, still, Damn MN for not taking care of this already! I mean, really. It's not the only state, but the delay in implementation was a dick move on the legislature's part.

I really have no out-of-country travel plans right now, but when I win the Powerball lottery, that will change immediately!

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Response to George II (Reply #22)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:54 PM

48. The passport card and the passport itself

will arrive either the same day or only one day apart. At least that's the way it happened when I got them both.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:22 PM

25. I just had to renew my license here in NC.

Was told about this Real ID nonsense. But we have until 2020, or so she said.

My US passport is up to date, but I'm getting my UK passport renewed too.

I'll be traveling soon, and I might not return, except for visits.

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Response to cwydro (Reply #25)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:24 PM

26. Depends on the state.

For states without an extension to 2020, the date is October of 2018. Minnesota might get that extension, but then again it might not. We didn't vote for Trump, so the extension might not happen due to our state dragging its heels.

I'm embarrassed, really, that I didn't renew when my passport expired. Oh well, it's done now.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #26)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:32 PM

29. I've let mine lapse before too.

I've got to go find out what to do to renew my UK one, which has "European Community" at the top, lol.

I imagine the new one will look a bit different.

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Response to cwydro (Reply #25)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:25 PM

27. A valid passport will always work, so no worries.

It's our National ID. Might as well have one.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #27)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:34 PM

30. That's what I said to the stone faced drivers license lady.

Why do I need a "star" on my license if I already have all this other ID?

She just repeated her spiel. And yes, in NC, they actually put a STAR on your license. Lol, shades of elementary school!

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Response to cwydro (Reply #30)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:40 PM

32. Kind of like the star on your screen name here on DU, I guess.



The really bad thing about Real ID driver's licenses is the documentation you have to provide to get them the first time. In states with Voter ID laws, that is being used to suppress the votes of people who have trouble with documentation. I know people who have no idea what county they were born in, so getting a birth certificate is a real challenge, especially if they don't have a computer to look that information up and request a copy.

There are still many people in this country who actually never had a birth certificate. Most are old now, but it's an issue. In other cases, people have lost those documents and have no idea how to get replacements for BCs, naturalization papers and other required documents. In some states, getting a certified copy of a birth certificate is a trial of its own, as well. There are places where all birth records have even disappeared or have been lost. It's a mess.

That is one of the enormous flaws in Voter ID, and is one of the reasons so many states that want to suppress the votes of poor people, uneducated people, immigrants who are naturalized, etc. They believe that such people would vote for Democrats, so they try to keep them from voting.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #32)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:44 PM

33. Yes, good point.

Funny thing. My mother passed recently (no, that's not the funny thing), and I'm cleaning out her condo.

Found my birth certificate in her antique desk. Put it in one of the plastic bins I've bought for important papers, and I've already forgotten which one!

When I began this awful task, I completely forgot to label boxes. Doing so now, but, er, a bit late.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:40 PM

31. I have an enhanced DL (Washington state)

but I should get a new passport. Mine expired years and years ago.

The enhanced DL was fairly easy for me to get (I have my birth certificate; I had my old passport), but I was gobsmacked by the person in front of me who didn't know where his mother was born. I'm not talking city/state, either. He did not know what country she was born in (their family had emigrated from Korea, and I guess he didn't know if she was born before or after that). It seems like information you find out ahead of time. Anyway, that hijacks your thread, sorry, but it just popped into my head - maybe it's relevant, because I can remind people to make sure they have all the information they need at hand before they apply.

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Response to LisaM (Reply #31)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:51 PM

36. That's very relevant.

We're smart and educated, here on DU. It's hard sometimes to realize how many people are neither of those things. For them, not having such documents or the knowledge needed to get them can be a huge stumbling block. It's going to get worse and worse for those people, frankly.

Voting is a huge issue, especially in states with Voter ID laws that are designed to deny the right to vote for just such people.

If you want a certified copy of your birth certificate, you need to know not only the city where your were born, but the county, as well, since such records are recorded by counties. Then, you have to know how to get a copy. In many cases, you get it from the state if you were born before some certain year, or the county if you were born after that year. Then, you have to get an application form, either online or by mail, fill it out and pay a fee for a certified copy of your birth certificate.

Some people have their original birth certificate. I do. Most people do not, and have to get a certified copy before they can get Real ID, a passport or whatever. Some people never had a birth certificate. Their birth was never recorded. That happens in many rural areas, particularly in some states.

For most of us who read DU, such things are not a problem. You can get the information you need by searching for it. For others, though, it can be impossible without help. One of the things local Democratic Party organizations should be doing is setting up local clearing houses to assist people with those problems and helping them to obtain the documents they need. There are people in every city, county and every state who cannot document themselves without help, and sometimes a lot of help.

This would be a good project for local colleges, I think. Offer credit for working to help people with documentation. Make it a requirement for degrees in the Social Sciences, Political Science, Education and some other majors to spend a semester working in a clearing house that does that. The knowledge learned would be useful to the students as well.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:44 PM

34. I renewed mine last November just because I always like to have a valid passport in case

a spur of the moment trip comes up. I renewed in November, mailed it in the week after Thanksgiving and had my new passport before 12/15. I was amazed at how fast I got the new one.

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Response to beaglelover (Reply #34)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:51 PM

37. November is the best month to renew, apparently.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:50 PM

35. My Wife and I just renewed ours and got our kids 1st passports also

The Kids' passports were in hand a week later and we received our new Passports within 2 weeks.

Just an FYI for those who may think 4-6 weeks is a long time. Your Mileage may vary.

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Response to JDC (Reply #35)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:52 PM

38. Yeah. Usually they show up in less time, for sure.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 02:52 PM

39. I was dreading renewing my passport back in May but was pleasantly surprised

not to find a single picture of Trump or Pence in the State Department building.

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Response to Snake Plissken (Reply #39)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:03 PM

41. There are no official photos yet. Trump and Pence have not

sat for them yet. It's hilarious. The spaces for them are empty in federal buildings. Perhaps they know they won't be in office long enough for it to matter.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #41)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:05 PM

42. If I knew that I wouldn't have waited until the last minute to get my passport renewed

I was truly dreading seeing their faces on the wall as I waited in line, I felt like a million bucks, when I saw their pictures were nowhere to be found.

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Response to Snake Plissken (Reply #42)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:06 PM

43. Yeah. Fortunately, I could do my renewal

at a local city hall. Nice folks working there, too.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:14 PM

44. Make checks payable to

Donald J (for jackass) tRump.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:37 PM

45. We're having the same problem in Pennsylvania

And we also renewed our passports. With Trump in charge, who knows what could happen.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:48 PM

46. A surprising number of states are not Real ID compliant

when it comes to drivers licenses.

Here in New Mexico we finally became compliant last summer, and there have been a lot of horror stories about how incredibly difficult it can be to get such a license. (You can, instead opt to get something that more or less gives you permission to drive but won't get you on an airplane) Proof of who you are. Proof of citizenship. At least two, maybe three things showing you live at your address.

I renewed my DL a few weeks before that Real ID thing went in to effect, about a month before I needed to because I expected it to be a total cluster fuck. Every so often you hear of someone who has to keep on going back because whatever they bring in somehow isn't good enough. Including, apparently, passports.

This Real ID thing is total bullshit.

Oh, and when I renewed my passport in April of 2015, not only did it take maybe two weeks to arrive, but I also got the passport card also. And since you need to show every bit the same documentation to get that as to get the passport itself, it's total nonsense that the card isn't good enough to get on an airplane. I get why it wouldn't be good to travel to countries that want to stamp your passport, but getting on a plane domestically?

I got my first passport in 1970 and I've always had a valid one ever since. Just always seemed like a good idea, even though I don't leave the country all that often.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 03:49 PM

47. It's funny that I need my passport to renew my DL and vice versa.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Wed Sep 13, 2017, 06:52 PM

49. Frequent flyers may also want to get the wallet size Passcard

Passcard can only be used on domestic flights, but is convenient for people who fly alot. The Passcard costs $30.

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