First of all, you need to start this process at least six months before your current passport expires. Not because of the new Immigration laws in the U.S., which state that your current passport must be valid for at least the next six months, but because your DH will “tidy” these forms away and you won’t be able to find them for at least that long!
Step One: find forms (a.k.a. harangue aforementioned DH about his idea of tidying for quite a number of weeks until he’s had enough and finally looks for the forms and produces them in minutes) or go back to the Garda Station where you might find that they’ve run out – again.
Step Two: Realise that before you fill out the forms you will need to get a birth certificate for your 15 week old baby and to get this you need to register his birth. Remind yourself that this has been on your to-do list for the past 14 weeks but you’ve been avoiding it as you know it involves a trip into the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages in the centre of Dublin City as registration has to be done in person.
Step Three: ask aforementioned DH to go to Registry office as it’s a short walk away from his workplace.
Step Four: Wait a few days, biting your tongue so as to avoid acquiring the title of “Nag-of-the-Year”.
Step Five: Thank your most wonderful and patient DH when he produces several copies of the birth certificate and take note of the directions he was given in relation to getting your child registered for Child Benefit – which cannot be done automatically in this instance because the birth was registered after three months!
Step Six: Berate yourself for not taking trip in to town a few weeks earlier.
Step Seven: In the meantime make a family trip to get everybody’s photo taken. Eschew photo booths after all the horror stories you’ve heard about applications being rejected because of hairlines being 1mm too high or chin lines being 1mm too low and go along to a pharmacy where you’re photographed in person. Wonder at how your two older monsters turn out looking like angels in their photos whereas your innocent 15-week-old looks like a criminal mastermind plotting world domination. Bemoan the fact that your cute passport photo from ten years ago will be replaced by a “Wanted” style photo of an unkempt and cross-looking mother-of-three.
Step Eight: Finally (you think) sit down with the forms, old passports and new photos in a quiet moment with a nice coffee thinking that all you have left to do is visit the Garda Station to get forms and photos signed and then the post office to send them off.
Step Nine: Realise DH also has to sign all the kids forms and both signatures have to be made in the presence of a witness who also has to sign and stamp the forms. Wonder about the logistics of getting to a Garda Station/ Doctor’s surgery/Commissioner for Oaths’ office/ church/ school/ local politician’s constituency office/ lawyer or accountant’s office with DH so that this can be achieved.
Step Ten: Also, realise you need a PPS no. for your 15 week old. Remember directions DH was given by Registry Office and go to Post Office to get an application form. Get re-directed by Post Office to Citizen’s Information Office. Go to Citizen’s Information Office in Swords. Listen as receptionist in Citizen’s Information Office gives you directions for Social Welfare Office in Balbriggan and informs you that you must present yourself, in person with i.d., to get a PPS no. for your children these days “because of all the non-nationals”, apparently. Wonder whether the change in procedure is really because wide-scale fraud being practiced by foreign nationals that Irish people just never thought of (which I can’t believe) or because of an inherent mistrust of foreign nationals (which seems more likely to me).
Step 11: Drive out to Balbriggan on M1 motorway with your heart in your mouth as you recall the last time you drove this way you got a puncture and the over-enthusiastic teenager that tried in vain to help you wrecked your wheel brace and you still haven’t replaced it. Arrive at Social Welfare Office in Balbriggan at 12:19 p.m. to find it closes at 12.
Step 12: Sigh and berate yourself that the morning was wasted when you could have been finishing off your January socks for Sock-A-Month 5 KAL. Drive home again, resolving to do battle with Irish bureaucracy another day!