Short answer? Um, sorry, in this post-911 world, there is no short answer. It's every bit as complicated as one might suspect. Let me tell you how I know that.
About six months ago, Lovely Daughter had her purse stolen. We panicked, then she went about getting her debit card replaced which solved the immediate crisis. Since she's not currently driving, the driver's license wasn't an issue. We looked into replacing her stolen ID anyway, since it was all expired, but there was no easy answer and it didn't seem to be an urgent problem. So we blew it off.
A couple of weeks later she got a call from someone who had found her wallet, seemingly intact. O, glorious day! Unfortunately, what followed was an unending tragicomedy of months of missed communications, culminating recently with the news that the finder had taken the address off "one of the cards inside" and mailed the wallet.
Mailed it where? We have no idea. The one address not in the wallet was the current address. I'm guessing we can officially color it lost.
Now what? Shit, it's October! The wedding is coming up in six weeks -- she'll need ID to join us in Vegas. OK, now we can panic. Options? She should probably get a New York State ID. Oops - need a social security card for that. Where is hers? In the wallet. OK, so how do you get a social security card? Oops - requires an unexpired photo ID, like, say a New York State ID. Sorry, expired passports don't count.
So... can't get a social security card without an ID, can't get an ID without a social security card. I'm sensing a slight problem.
Then, in the darkness, a light dawns... what about the expired passport? Can it be renewed? As a matter of fact, it can be renewed by mail, as long as it was issued on or after the age of 16. SCHWEEET!
Wait, when was Lovely Daughter's issued? Age 15 years, 10 months.
Options! I need options, people!
Hey, look, she can re-apply in person. I found the list of required documents on the State Dept site and read it between the fingers clamped over my eyes. I didn't want confirmation that we were officially fucked, even though I was sure we were. Pleaseohpleaseohpleeeeeze, let them not require a social security card....
- Undamaged passport? Check.
- Birth Certificate? Check
- Large chunk of cash? Check! I'll pay whatever you want, just make it stop!
Lesson learned? Aside from the obvious one (Don't ever leave your wallet in your unattended purse slung on the back of a chair in a bar in Manhattan,) do not, under any circumstances, carry your social security card in your wallet. And don't let your passport expire.
Mama needs a drink.