I'm a natural-born US citizen. I got a passport back in March 2000 for a trip to Germany. Of course, that was more than 10 years ago, so the passport is expired, and being more than 15 years ago (15 years and 4 months now), is not eligible to be renewed. I need to apply for a passport as a first-time applicant.
The trouble is that I'm leaving for a cruise that will be making stops in Canada in 7 1/2 weeks (September 5th, to be exact). This WOULD be enough time to get a new passport, but the birth certificate I got from my parents doesn't have a official seal on it, and from what I've read about the rules on birth certificates, the certificate I have will likely not be accepted by the office when I attempt to get a new passport. It came from a US Navy base hospital, and the entire thing is a photocopy except for a signature from the someone who's rank appears to be "PN1", whatever that means. Nowhere on it are any embossed/raised seals.
According to the California Department of Public Health website, it will take about four weeks to receive a certified birth certificate, which wouldn't give me enough time to use it to get my passport.
From what I've read, I could use that birth certificate and my USA driver's license to get into Canada, but that getting back into the USA absolutely requires a passport.
What options do I have? Am I screwed?