One of the most important documents that will accompany us and document our travels – getting our new passports!
Another thing on our to-do-list was to have our pictures taken, not the pretty ones but the biometric ones. So we went to our local photo studio to get 4 biometric photos for a new passport and 4 photos to apply for a US-Visa, the photographer usually knows the requirements for this kind of photos and will also provide the photos digitally, because nowadays you need everything digitally.
To apply for a new passport you will need the photo in paper form though, as well as an appointment at the residents’ registration office. The new passport will be valid for 10 years and fulfill the requirement of most countries that a passport has to be valid for another 6 months at the time of departure. A regular passport has 32 pages and if you are 24 years or older, here it costs 60,00 €. For frequent travelers, and we will soon be frequent travelers, there is a passport available with 48 pages, but it costs 82,00 €. We get the one with the extra pages in case any border official will place a stamp too generous in our passport. After 3-6 weeks our new passports will be ready to pick up – and we won’t even need an appointment because the pick-up service is open daily from 7-19h, to us German employees those are great opening hours, remembering only the “long Thursday” 😉 we are thrilled, asking if all official offices have those great opening hours now, because we later have to go to the LBV Landesbetrieb Verkehr (this is the German Department for Motor Vehicles; DMV) to register our Sprinter and later get our international driver’s license, but they still have the “old” opening hours. Well, it’s not that big of a problem, we’ll just make an appointment for the “long Thursday”.
After our passports were ready to pick up after about 3 weeks, we will now apply for a B2 US-Visa!