31 Dec 2010
If you have ever lost your driver’s license or birth certificate or even applied for a passport, you know it is no easy process. It generally involves waiting in line with dozens of other people and once you get to talk to someone you almost undoubtedly need one or two pieces of paper you do not have on you and you have to go to another building across town first. Anything involving government or official documentation is always the biggest pain in the ass. Fortunately, April Dykman from Get Rich Slowly wrote a great reference article on how to replace six of the vital documents – birth certificate, social security card, passport, property deed, car title, and tax returns.
Here is a quick summary of how to replace six of the most important and eventually needed documents in your life from April’s post on GRS:
Used for everything from enrolling to college to getting a marriage license or passport, you need to go the vital statistics office website for the state where you were born. You most likely will need a photo ID and you will need the following most likely as well:
- Official Name
- Birth Date
- Parents’ Names
- Place of Birth
- $10-$20 depending on the state
Social Security Card:
Like a birth certificate a Social Security card is needed for many things such as replacing a lost driver’s license or sometimes to even apply for a job. To replace it, you will want to contact your local Social Security office and fill out an application form that will also require one of the following forms of ID:
- U.S. Driver’s License
- State-issued, non-driver ID card
- U.S. Passport
Plus you will need one of the following to prove your citizenship:
- U.S. Birth Certificate
- U.S. Consular Report
- U.S. Passport
- Certificate of Naturalization
- Certificate of Citizenship
Just to make sure you are aware, you can only replace your Social Security card three times in a year and you are limited to 10 during your lifetime. Personally I would make this replacement in person instead of mailing it in as the documents you need are ones you don’t want to lose in the mail.
If you are looking to get out of the country anytime, you are going to need a passport. If your passport has been lost or stolen, you will need to report it by calling 1-877-487-2778. Then, go to a passport agency or acceptance facility in your area and bring the following two completed forms:
- Form DS-11: Application for a U.S. Passport (Do not sign until instructed to do so by the agent)
- Form DS-64: Statement Regarding a Lost or Stolen Passport
You will also need to bring identification and proof of citizenship (see list for Social Security replacement above for acceptable forms of proof) and two passport photos. You can get these photos taken anywhere from your local drug store to even doing them yourself, but check make sure you get the dimensions and requirements right. Renewing an adult passport costs $140 whereas the cost of a new passport is currently $165. If you need the passport in less than two weeks for an upcoming trip, you can contact the National Passport Information Center to make an appointment at a local passport agency and you will pay an expedited processing fee. From personal experience this process takes a few weeks so make sure you do this a ways in advance of whenever you are planning to travel.
If you sell or refinance your house or property or transfer the title, you need to show proof of ownership in the form of a property deed. Try the following ways to get a copy (and have the address and tax map ID number handy):
- Contact the attorney who handled the closing to see if he or she has a copy.
- Call the county clerk’s office, where deeds are typically recorded.
- Hire a title company to search for it.
The first two methods are cheap, usually costing a small fee for photocopies. Hiring a title company can run $100-$150, but can yield a more complete search.
In the market to sell your car? You are going to need the title. Contact your state’s department of motor vehicles. You will need the following:
- Application form
- Fee (varies by state)
- ID, such as a driver’s license
You will also need proof of ownership, such as your license plate number and vehicle identification number or your vehicle registration. You might want to bring a picture or video of your best Dukes of Hazzard audition in the car.
To get tax returns from previous years, start by contacting your accountant or tax preparer, who should keep copies of your returns. Personally I do mine own taxes and if you are like me, you should be keeping copies of your taxes for years in case of an audit. You can also get copies directly from the IRS by filling out form 4506, Request for Copy of Tax Return. There is a $57 fee per tax year requested. Overall, just keep your own tax returns and save your $57 for something like this.
Not presented in the GRS article but one you will most likely have to replace sometime in your life, a driver’s license replacement requires different items from state to state, but here is a quick way to find out. You most likely will also need you two forms of identification such as a Social Security card and a birth certificate. You will generally need at least $25 too. To keep in line with being a pain in the ass, most BMVs only take checks or cash so be ready.
- The Prep Work I’m Doing To Get A Passport Under New State Department Rules (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Is flying without photo ID a nightmare? (ask.metafilter.com)
- How Major Life Events Affect Your Taxes (turbotax.intuit.com)
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