Ian is planning to spend his fall semester in Europe. Actually, he’s planning to fund his own travels to Europe for the full month of October and part of November. He’s been working and working and working and saving and saving and saving. I’m so proud of him and so excited for him. I wish I had traveled back when I was young and unencumbered. I’ll be living vicariously through him come this fall.
His plans are to fly into Dublin and then move on to Edinborough, Paris, Versailles, Nice, Monaco, Rome, Florence, Venice, Vienna and Prague and then flying back to Dublin. Ambitious, but waaahhh I want to go with him. (If any of you have experience traveling abroad, especially as a 19-ish year old person, please share in the comments!)
He’s applied for a passport. Wednesday he received a letter from the department that handles passports stating that he needed to provide more info about his parents (we’re complicated, you know) and five supporting documents that he was a real person. They already have his drivers license and his birth certificate. In bold, and underlined, in the letter was the instruction that each of these supporting documents be at a minimum, five-years-old. Ummm . . . the kid is 19. This ticked me off. Ian was ticked off at the part that explained how if they did not accept his documentation, they would keep his $200 and he would have to start from the beginning, fees and all.
They gave a list of suggested documents. Ian has many of them – school id, voter’s registration, transcripts, and on and on. Like I said, Ian has these documents, none are older than three years. He called the number on the letter. The first person he talked to had him read the letter he’d received “Start with Dear and end reading with Sincerely,” she told him. They don’t have these letters on file for people whose sole job is to answer passport questions????? Her best advice for Ian was to have him stuff anything he thought might help into an envelope and send it in and cross his fingers. SERIOUSLY???????
Ian and I sorted through tons of paper and came up with five possible documents. I told him to call back. He got a different person this time. That person thought his documents sounded just super. He also told Ian to cross his fingers and maybe attach a letter stating that he had provided documentation but due to his age, it was not five years or older.
I have a hard time believing that Ian is the only 19 year old to apply for a passport or that it is this difficult. AND, because I watch the news too much, I proceeded to blame Ian. “Have you been online saying unkind things about our president or our government???” And, then I backed off and thought about how insane that sounded. Gah.
Everyone light a candle to the passport god. Ian took all his original documents and copies to a notary at our bank and had them notarized. He wrote the insane letter about his age and attached the department’s original letter.
Any other ideas?