5 Things I Learned at the Passport Office

5 Things I Learned at the Passport Office
Our mutilated passports. Photos intact.

Our mutilated passports. Photos intact.

This week I had the good fortune to spend 3 fucking hours time with a dear friend at the passport office. I will call her Judie. Judie is a lovely girl who is very inquisitive. While in the passport office I learned the following under her tutelage.

  1. If you have a flood in your basement and your passports are rendered useless, do NOT cut the pictures out to save them before you check to see if they have expired*. Why you ask? Because the passport office then thinks that you are trying to remove the photo to change it to someone else’s to commit a federal offence, that’s why.
  2. If you want the family’s passports to all expire at the same time, do NOT tell the passport officer that you were planning to just say you lost the one that is the problem.
  3. When the passport officer tells you why you can’t smile in your passport photo; and you tell her that you smile at the customs officers because you like to smile; and then she recommends you don’t do that; and then you ask why not; and then she tells you about the face recognition software they use; then you say what are they going to do if I can’t stop smiling; and then she tells you that the customs officer will detain you at his window until you stop smiling; you say oh really?; and she shows you the stern face they will show you and she looks directly in your eye and asks you to just look at her. This is not the appropriate time to laugh. Hint here… having fun with a passport officer is ok, having fun with a customs officer is not.
  4. When your terrified friend tells you that you are going to be red flagged after all these questions, understand that she is doing it out of love and that she will never travel with you out-of-country – EVER.
  5. You can have 3 hours of fun anywhere, even without wine, if you just bring the right friend. Just leave the scissors at home.

* Helpful hint: If you do do this (really?), then wait for it to expire and just apply for another one and they won’t throw you in jail.


  1. The “passport office” here is inside the post office. God help us all. Our family of four went last summer and it took quite a few hours, plus one most likely ticketable offense of public urination when my son ended up having to go outside (somewhere?) when nature inevitably called and the postal workers informed us there is no public restroom in the building. Thankfully no one got arrested for indecent exposure on this family “adventure.”

  2. Oh, lol! That is much more eventful than my recent passport office visit (I’m going to Florida on Saturday!) And I think my wait was only an hour or so. I will certainly heed the advice of not smiling too much with customs.

  3. […] Judie: I can’t fucking start the fucking boat. It is fucked! […]

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