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Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 05:41 AM   #1
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Passport renewal delays?

I put in for a 3-day expedite early last week and found out yesterday the expedites are currently running at a 4 week turnaround. The Passport call center is just disconnecting people right away. DW told me there was an NPR news piece the other day about the current delays, and I thought I read something about RFID chips going into new passports or something like that. I just screwed up a trip to IL next week and one to Europe the week after.

Anybody familiar with what's really going on right now? Why all the sudden heavy backlog?
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 06:27 AM   #2
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaDave
Anybody familiar with what's really going on right now? Why all the sudden heavy backlog?
Passport Backlog Blamed on New Requirements

All Things Considered, April 4, 2007 A new law that went into effect in January requires U.S. citizens to have a passport when taking a plane to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. The change has created a huge demand that is peaking now that spring break is here and summer looms.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=9359805
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 07:29 AM   #3
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

Figures. Just my luck.
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 07:34 AM   #4
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

I renewed mine last summer because I expected a rush on passports before now.

heh heh heh
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 07:41 AM   #5
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

I'm just getting ready to renew DH's. Don't need it until next January, thankfully. I wonder how long the regular renewals are taking...

On a side note - quick question - do they send your old passort back when they renew the new one? We have our yellow fever vaccination certificate stapled into the passport. Should we remove it before sending it in?
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 07:56 AM   #6
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

Yes, your old passport will be returned to you - I cannot remember whether it arrived in the same envelope as my new passport, but I do have both now.
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 07:59 AM   #7
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

Regular renewals are taking up to twice as long as what they normally tell you (although I can't remember what that is). I heard it on NPR.
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 08:00 AM   #8
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

Quote:
Originally Posted by simple girl

I wonder how long the regular renewals are taking...
From the NPR article quoted above:

Processing times for standard applications jumped from eight weeks to three months or more, and the time for expedited applications which cost an extra $59 went from two weeks to four.

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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 03:10 PM   #9
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaDave
Anybody familiar with what's really going on right now? Why all the sudden heavy backlog?
IIRC cruise-ship passengers also need passports for the Caribbean, Mexico, & Canada.

Our kid's passport came back last month with a RFID chip. She's old enough now that she didn't believe me when I told her we needed to insert it under the skin between her shoulder blades. I was carrying my toolbox and a Band-aid, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by simple girl
On a side note - quick question - do they send your old passort back when they renew the new one? We have our yellow fever vaccination certificate stapled into the passport. Should we remove it before sending it in?
You get the old passport back with holes punched through it (and its contents). We were required to send in an original birth certificate, which thankfully was also returned intact (but folded).

Considering the pain of getting a yellow-fever shot, to say nothing of the pain of doing it again, I'd carry the shot card separately from the passport, keep a copy elsewhere in my luggage, leave a faxable copy with a friend back home, and scan it for an encrytped file on a website!

Of course it begs the question of why you'd want to travel somewhere that has yellow fever in the first place...
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 04:49 PM   #10
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

In January I paid for expedited service for 6 passports (4 new, 2 renewals) for our trip to the Bahamas...cost close to $1000 for all of them, but they came back in less than 2 weeks.

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Same day passport service! (Long story ahead)
Old 04-05-2007, 05:15 PM   #11
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Same day passport service! (Long story ahead)

Last year, I had an emergency passport situation.

On a Wednesday afternoon, my wife did our laundry. After all was said and done, we discovered my passport was in my pants and had now been destroyed. I had forgotten it was in my pants after arriving home recently from overseas.

Not normally a big deal, except that I was getting married on Saturday, and Friday was the dress rehearsal out of town. Sunday we were scheduled to go to Tahiti for the honeymoon.

Can you say PANIC?

Anyway, that Wed. afternoon I went to the local passport office and they said that my only hope was to go to the regional office in San Francisco where they actually print and process the passports. She said I should make an appointment.

When I called, there was no way to make appointments. The voicemail system just ran me in circles and circles, so I gave up and decided I would just show up the next morning and hope for good luck.

Thurs. morning rolls around, and I drive up to the office and arrive before opening so that I will be first in line. I have heard these lines can get long.

So I wait, and they open it up and let in everybody except me. You see, I didn't have an appointment.

An hour later, they let me go upstairs. I walk in, and the guy at security tells me I can't go in and there's no way I can get a passport today.

I tell him that somebody downstairs said I could try, and that it was an urgent situation. I needed my passport TODAY.

So he basically tells me there's no way, wishes me luck but lets me through security and says to go talk to a guy at a window.

I go to the guy at the window and explain I need a passport today, and he flat out says it won't happen. I explain to him my situation, and he gives me a number and tells me to wait in the lobby and I *may* get to talk to somebody who *may* be able to help me out, but no promises and it's doubtful.

I wait. And I wait. And I wait some more. Finally, they call my number.

I step up to yet another window, explain my situation, and basically beg this guy to help me out. The woman waiting at the window next to me says to me, "It's a good story. I'm sure it'll work out."

The guy looks through all my documents, verifies I have everything needed (including copies of my itinerary -- VERY important), and says that he'll have a passport for me and to come back before the office closes.

I come back later, and the passport isn't ready. I ended up waiting another hour and a half before the last batch was finally processed. But I *DID* get my passport with a 1-day turnaround.

So if you genuinely need this passport now, then here's what you do:

1) Go to local passport office in person with ALL documentation. Explain your situation, and ask them for the DIRECT LINE to make an appointment at the regional office. If possible, get the name of somebody specific with a direct line you can talk to.

2) Call up and make the appointment for the next day.

3) If you have an appointment, then you're set. Show up early, wait, and get your passport.

4) If you don't have an appointment, be prepared to beg and plead.
-- VERY IMPORTANT: Do not express frustration or impatience, no matter what they say to you. Be honest, sincere, and respectful.

These people hear sob stories every day for their entire careers, and they deal with jerks all the time who believe that their story and their reason is the most important thing in the world. To the people at the passport office, you are nothing more than another number and expect to be treated that way.

Anyway, that's a lot to digest but hopefully somebody, somewhere, will learn from my same-day passport experience and be able to utilize the advice.
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 05:27 PM   #12
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

I have a neighbor whose renewal has been in Agency hands for months, hasn't received it yet and her paid international trip is pending. She has been in contact with our elected officials in DC - am sure along with gazillion other travel pending citizens. Her panic is palpable.
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 05:58 PM   #13
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
You get the old passport back with holes punched through it (and its contents).
Last time I renewed, they carefully did NOT punch through the page with my permanent residency sticker on it. Very thoughtful of them. I hadn't even thought to ask about that.
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-05-2007, 07:32 PM   #14
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

One of the advantages of being in the Embassy was that the guy who did the passports lived in the same housing complex.

When we showed up, he took us into his office. Took care of the paperwork and swore our oaths personally. It took about twenty minutes.

Thanks, Mr. St. Denis.

Unfortunately, I no longer can get that personal service.
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-06-2007, 08:33 AM   #15
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

Thanks for all the input. Looks like its gonna be 4 weeks. My expadite has been in there 10 days and they haven't even posted the status yet. IL next week is history. Delaying the Dresden-Milan-Grenoble customer stuff till week of 4-23. Nice to actually be home with the family for Easter though. I will never ever (ever ever) miss business travel after this stage of my life is behind me.
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Re: Passport renewal delays?
Old 04-06-2007, 11:36 AM   #16
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Re: Passport renewal delays?

I know what you mean, all too well. I look forward to the day when travel is only for pleasure...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaDave
Thanks for all the input. Looks like its gonna be 4 weeks. My expadite has been in there 10 days and they haven't even posted the status yet. IL next week is history. Delaying the Dresden-Milan-Grenoble customer stuff till week of 4-23. Nice to actually be home with the family for Easter though. I will never ever (ever ever) miss business travel after this stage of my life is behind me.
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