‘Passport Day’ gives US tourists a head start on travel

If you're traveling internationally and need a new or updated passport, get your documents ready.

This Saturday, U.S. passport offices and participating passport agencies are due to be open for the third annual "Passport Day," which enables those who work Monday-Friday to move forward in getting those blue booklets or passport cards, adding extra pages in a passport, or whatever. "For this day only, no appointment is necessary," the State Department says in a press release.

It says its newest agencies in San Diego, El Paso, Texas, and St. Albans, Vt., will be open on Passport Day. Locations and details are at travel.state.gov. So what if the government shuts down, amid budget wrangling and the expiration of stopgap spending measures Friday? A State Department spokeswoman says it is operating as usual unless told otherwise.

Here's something you need to know if you or your child are applying for a passport for the first time (this doesn't affect renewals). You need to apply in person; minors need to show up also. As of April 1, you technically need a birth certificate that states both parents' names. So what to do if you're a single mom who didn't name the father on a birth certificate or an adopted child whose birth parents wish to remain anonymous?

Here's what a State Department spokeswoman e-mailed me: "The Department recognizes that some passport applicants will not have two parents registered on their birth certificates due to circumstances such as an unknown father or a single-parent adoption case. In these cases, a passport applicant may submit a certified copy of a birth certificate listing the complete name of the registering parent. Regarding two parents adopting a child, the parents may amend the birth certificate of their child to reflect both of their complete names. Though requirements differ slightly across the country, states generally make it easy to amend a birth certificate to list adoptive parents. In adoption cases, the Department will also accept the certified copy of the child's original birth certificate as long as it is submitted with the certified copy of the adoption decree indicating the name of the child and his or her adoptive parents."

Source: USA Today