For the eighth year in a row, Scarborough Community Services will be hosting Annual Passport Day in Scarborough. Held on Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Scarborough Town Hall, staff will assist with accepting new passports applications and minor passport renewals. Staff will also be on hand to answer any questions about passport books and cards and help people in completing passport renewals.

In honor of this upcoming special event, Community Services staff thought it would be helpful to touch upon frequently asked questions and misconceptions about passports and Maine Real IDs:

• My child has had a passport before. Can we renew that on our own?

Anyone whose previous passport was valid for 5 years or less must reapply for a passport at a passport acceptance facility, like the Scarborough Community Services Office, or a passport agency or center, like the National Passport Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Children age 15 and under must bring their previous passport plus their certified birth certificate to accompany the application. All documents that accompany a passport application are mailed back to applicants under separate cover. For more information on applying for a minor’s passport, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renewpassport/under-16.html.

• I need to renew my child’s passport. Can one parent bring everything in?

Regardless of age, all applicants must appear in person when applying for a passport. For example, if parents are applying for a passport for their newborn, the baby must also be present. Both parents listed on the birth certificate must also be present at the appointment. If only one parent can be present at the appointment, there is a form (DS-3053) that the nonappearing parent can have notarized to stand in their place. This form must be completed for each minor child applying for a passport and mustbe accompanied with a photocopy of the front and back of the ID notated on the form by the Notary.

• My passport is about to expire. Do I need to set up an appointment to renew my passport?

If your previous passport was good for 10 years, is not damaged, and is still in your possession, you do not need an appointment to renew it. Renewals are handled on your own. You simply complete the Passport Renewal Form (DS-82), attach a new passport photo, and submit the form, a check made to the U.S. Department of State, and the expired or expiring passport to the address indicated on the form. The U.S. Department gives applicants up to five years after expiration to renew their 10-year passports using the DS-82 form. For the DS-82 form and related fees, please visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/apply-renewpassport/renew-by-mail.html.

• I heard that I need a passport to fly from Maine to another U.S. destination. Is that true?

The Department of Homeland Security has issued an additional one-year waiver for the State of Maine’s REAL ID Act compliance, which will allow federal agencies to continue to accept driver’s licenses and identification cards from Maine through September 2020. During this period, Maine driver’s licenses and IDs will be accepted as valid identification for federal purposes, such as entrance to federal facilities and boarding commercial aircraft. Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, you will need a valid passport book, a valid passport card, or a Real-ID compliant driver’s license or State ID in order to fly domestically.

• I went to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for the Real ID and they told me to just get a passport card? Which is better?

One product is not necessarily better than another but each do have their advantages and disadvantages. See below for the ins and outs of each product (examples are given for adults only):

Passport Book

PROS: Valid for 10 years; Can be used as ID; Can be used for domestic and international travel; Requires less documentation when applying (birth certificate, photo ID, passport photos, payment)

CONS: Most expensive option ($145 total per adult); Still need driver’s license for driving purposes; Larger size/less convenient.

Passport Card

PROS: Valid for 10 years; Can be used as ID; Fits in wallet; Can be used for domestic travel, closed-loop Caribbean cruises, and border crossing by vehicle (Mexico and Canada); Requires less documentation when applying (birth certificate, photo ID, passport photos, payment); Less expensive than passport book ($65 total per adult).

CONS: More expensive than REAL ID; Cannot travel internationally with card; Still need driver’s license for driving purposes

Real ID
PROS: Valid for six years; Can be used as ID and driver’s license; Fits in wallet; Can be used for domestic travel; Less expensive than either passport products ($55 total per adult).

CONS: Cannot travel internationally; Requires the most documentation (One ID document, proof of lawful status in the United States, documentation of a valid Social Security number or proof of ineligibility, two original Maine residency documents).

Details on what documents will be needed for the Real ID driver’s license or ID card can be found at www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/licenses/realid

• My children are also travelling with me domestically. Do they need a passport card or book?

When flying domestically, the Transportation Security Administration requires all adults age 18 and over to carry a valid federal or state-issued identification card such as a passport or Real ID driver’s license, but children and babies do not need ID. Note that your airline may require proof of an infant’s age, such as a passport or birth certificate. Check with your airline for specific policies.

If you have any other questions regarding passports, please feel free to call Scarborough Community Services at 207-730-4150. We hope to see everyone on March 7.

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