Seattle Passport Office – Getting a Same Day Passport

by on August 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm

After exceeding 150 comments on post detailing my original experience getting a same day passport, I decided to go through the comments and separate the experiences and helpful tips by passport office.

These comments and tips were related to people’s experiences at the Seattle Passport Office.

From Cyrak:

First of all, I have to say how helpful this blog was, and everyone was 100% right - it is very simple and easy. I just wanted to post my experience, because even after reading all the responses, I still had several questions, and thought I would clear those up for others.

Some background: My mother and I live in the Seattle area. I wanted to surprise her with a trip to Victoria, Canada for Labor Day weekend. I bought tickets for the Victoria Clipper, and made reservations at a couple B&B;’s. It never even occurred to me that she might not have a passport. Well, she didn’t, and the tickets and reservations were non-refundable. At that point, it was only ten days before Labor Day weekend. I started frantically searching the internet for a way to get a passport quickly, and came across the US DOS website, and this blog. We immediately called the hotline and got an appointment for Thursday, August 24th, at 8:30am. My mother works at a pharmacy, and it is hard for her to get time off, so we needed to get this done as early as possible, so she could get back to work.

They gave us a confirmation number, and the automated system listed the things required:

1) Birth certificate (or other proof of citizenship)
2) Photo ID (such as driver’s license)
3) Two passport photos (2 inches square, rules listed on the DOS website)
4) Proof of travel
5) Method of payment for fees

Our main question was whether or not the Booking Confirmation from Victoria Clipper would be sufficient proof of travel. My mom went to the Post Office near her work to get the passport photos taken, which cost $15.

Then we discovered an even bigger problem - my mother keeps her birth certificate in a small safe in her house. She has opened it with no trouble at all for years, but of course, it picks this time to not open. No matter what we tried, it wouldn’t budge. By this time, it was the evening of the day before our appointment, and everything was closed. We stayed up until 1am, waiting for the locksmith to come, and after looking at it, they told us it would be between $200 and $900 to drill the lock, which would also ruin the expensive safe. If we had known that, we never would have called them! As soon as we woke up the next morning, we called Sentry, who informed us that we would need to have a form notarized stating that she was the owner of the safe, and then fax it back to them. Then they would email us the combination within two hours. We spent the next hour running around like crazy, notarizing, faxing, etc. Of course, we had to take the safe with us to the passport appointment, because we were running out of time. Those suckers are heavy!! It took both of us to load it into my van, and we raced off to the appointment, still waiting for the email from Sentry…

SO! With that, I give you our experience with same day passports:

The Regional Passport Office for Seattle is located at 300 5th Ave, Suite 600, Seattle, WA. If you arrive early (they open at 8am, but we got there around 8:20), you may be able to park on the street almost right in front of the building. It is meter parking, and there are about ten or twelve spots including the ones across the street (it’s a one way street).

First we went through Security - make sure you leave your pocket knives at home or in the car! It is just like airport security. Elevator up to the 6th floor, the office is to the left. When we arrived at about 8:30, there were maybe one or two people there. No “lines”, just a waiting room with chairs like the DMV. There are a couple security guards who are very nice, and point you in the right direction. We had intended to fill out the DS-11 ahead of time, which you can do on the DOS website, but we were so stressed about the safe we forgot. No worries, they have them there, though I would recommend doing it ahead of time if you can, as others come in ahead of you while you are filling it out. We went up to the check in window on the left, and the girl was very nice and helpful. She asked for our confirmation number, but of course we forgot that, too, so she just looked it up with the last four of my mother’s SS number. We explained the ridiculous situation about the birth certificate and the safe (which was sitting in my van - still no email from Sentry), and asked her what she recommended. She immediately suggested that we simply go down to the Vital Records Office four blocks down and get a new one.

THIS IS VALUABLE INFORMATION!! The Vital Records Office in Seattle is at 908 Jefferson St, on the 2nd floor, about two minutes drive from the Passport Office!! At 8:45am, there wasn’t a single person waiting, and they were also very nice. My mom simply filled out a short form, showed her driver’s license, paid the $20 fee (cash or check only), and less than five minutes later, we were walking out with her birth certificate!!

Another couple minutes drive and we were back at the Passport Office (lost our parking spot in front of the building, though - just parked on the cross street). At exactly 9:07am, we were giving the paperwork, photos, etc. to the nice lady at check in. She never even blinked at the Booking Confirmation from Victoria Clipper, so NO, your proof of travel does not have to be an airline itinerary, nor does it have to be an emergency. Can’t speak to hotel reservations, but they did not seem to care that much about it, nor even that you were traveling in exactly less than two weeks. My advice is to just hand over whatever you have, and if they question it, then cross that bridge. Otherwise, you should be fine.

She organized all the paperwork and gave us a number. We were A27, and they were currently serving A20. We took a seat, and I barely had time to run to the bathroom (there are nice ones right around the corner, with drinking fountains), and they called us up at exactly 9:25. This lady was also very nice, and only asked a couple of questions - one was if my mother had just renewed her driver’s license (which she had, and seemed to be a small issue, though she let it go, and I never was clear why it mattered), and also asked to see my mother’s work badge, which she had left in the car, so she let that go too. She had my mother take an oath (hand raised) that everything on the form was true, and that the photo was of her, and then sign the form in front of her. DO NOT SIGN THE FORM UNTIL THIS POINT! They need to witness you doing it. Then she asked for payment, which was $195. They take credit, debit, check, or exact change. I used my debit card to pay for it.

That was it! Since we were not leaving that day, the lady told us that the passport would be ready Monday (August 29) at 2pm. Because my mother has such a hard time getting off work, we asked if it would be ok if I picked it up for her. She said yes, no problem. She printed out a receipt-like form which authorizes me to pick it up, and had my mother sign, print, and write my name in the blank. She said I will need to bring that with me when I come to pick up the passport.

We walked out at 9:30am, and my mother was back at work in Edmonds by 10:15. I may add an update once I pick up the passport, but I don’t foresee there being any problems. All in all, one of the most efficiently run government offices I’ve ever seen, and a very pleasant experience.

So maybe we can have a Seattle link now?? :)

If you have had an experience at the Seattle passport office, please share it below. This tremendously helps future readers!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Dave Naffziger's BlogDave & Iva Naffziger