Vent about passports

merrymarypMay 22, 2007

Warning: Long and complainy...

I just have to get this off my chest.

My husband is being sent to a conference in Toronto. I got a ticket to go along and we are making a short vacation of it. It will be the first time traveling without our kids since 1996!

As we are flying in, we needed to get passports. We've never traveled outside the country before except driving into Canada, for which passports aren't needed yet. We applied the first week in March and were told that it may take 10 weeks but if we hadn't heard anything within 2 weeks of our trip, we could call to expediate them.

We called 2 weeks prior to when we are supposed to leave (which was 10 weeks after we applied) to check on the status and were told that they would get them expediated and to call back if we hadn't recieved them in a couple days. We called back when we didn't recieve them and found they hadn't been sent out yet but said they would be and they had been flagged so we didn't have to call again. They were being sent. Yesterday, still no passports... I called yesterday morning, they were still being processed but they would be sent out that day for overnight mail. Great. Called again last night to make sure it had been done. Nope, sorry. Too late today, the place that sends things out is closed for the day. Called this morning. Was told they will be sent today, same day mail. Our plane leaves at 1045 a.m. tomorrow. I don't believe we will be on it.

Just getting through to the agency is a nightmare, they actually have so many calls that when you call, they have a recording that comes on that says something like "we have too many calls to process and cannot take your call, goodbye" and then hangs up on you! I found an internet site yesterday that had a tip about pressing 9-3-1 to keep from getting hung up on and being able to continue to hold.

We called our congressional representative's office, they are trying to help us. Apparently this isn't unusual at all. They gave us specific instructions to give to our post office so we can get our passports if they are sent in time for our trip. We'll pick them up at 8am on our way to the airport.

I keep kicking myself for believing it when they said they are being sent, don't worry, you'll get them. blah blah blah All that money spent on tickets, it makes me so angry. I wish I would have known how common it was to have problems like this, I would have not believed all the garbage I was being told and would have had my representative working on it when we were 2 weeks out. Apparently, that is the best way to ensure you get your passport in time.

I'm packing my bags today. If we get our passports; we'll be on a plane to Toronto tomorrow. If we don't, my husband and I are going to drive to Idaho because I've always wanted to see Coeur D'Alene, it looks beautiful.

Either way, I'm going on vacation and I'm going to enjoy it, darn it!

Maryp

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grammyp

I feel your pain. DD#2 applied for hers Feb 26th and we just got it 2 weeks ago. We sent them an e-mail and called and they said it had been sent. Then we got it overnighted the next day. Go figure. Just keep checking and harassing them. It will come.

beverly

    Bookmark   May 22, 2007 at 10:48PM
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maryliz

Oh, my goodness! What a bother. I hate it when you do exactly as you're told, and then you don't know that nothing is being done--until it's too late. If only you had known.

Once, when I was waiting for the insurance company to pay some medical bills, after mailing them TWO times, I threatened to drive to their office and deliver it in person to make sure it didn't get lost again. Then, all of a sudden, all the bills got paid one day. I hate it when people won't let you know what's really happening. Or not happening.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 10:13AM
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nickisews

Too bad you aren't close enough to the passport office to pick it up.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 11:19AM
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ironkit

I understand your pain. One of my brothers has a very common name, and there was a felon who has the same name who had been put on a list to not get a passport. My brother had to jump through sooo many hoops to prove that he wasn't that guy, and he was 15 at the time!

Coeur D'Alene IS pretty. I wish we had stopped on our way through.

Have fun on either trip, and good luck.

~ Kit

    Bookmark   May 23, 2007 at 9:00PM
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fran1523

I don't know if you got your passport on time but th0ught I would share my story. I had to get a visa for my recent trip to China and your passport cannot expire less than six months from date of visa. I ended up paying an agency $340 to expedite the renewal of my passport and to obtain the visa. It is a ridiculous amount of money but they did it within four weeks time so it was worth it for my peace of mind.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:42AM
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merrymaryp

Wow, I didn't realize this was such an issue. I just have to consider it a learning experience.

FedEx stopped on Wednesday morning at 10 to deliver a package (however, we'd been told the passports had not been sent the evening before) but we knew it was our passports! Our plane left at 1045 but we were all packed so thought we could make it in time and we kicked into high gear and were excited. We opened the package and found only my passport had been sent. Talk about highs and lows. DH got his the next day but it was too late and it would have cost 1900 dollars each to change tickets! We ended up on vacation anyway (just not to Toronto) and it was good, as my mom reminded me, everything happens for a reason and according to God's plan.
Maryp

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 11:57AM
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biwako_of_abi

You have a good attitude! The suspense was killing me as I was reading this thread, and what a climax...or anticlimax! We have had many frustrations of this sort since moving back to the States 10 years ago, so DH and I had a good, but sympathetic laugh over your last post.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 1:31AM
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maryliz

Aaagh! Only one of the passports. What a disappointment. Good thing you had backup plans.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 1:32PM
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Aunt_Net

So, maybe I should start making some noise about our passports? We applied 10 weeks ago and are leaving in 5 weeks. We are driving through Canada so if we have our other ID shouldn't have any problems, right?
Glad your vacation worked out, how was it without the kids? We are getting ready for our first vacation without kids, can't wait.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 2:05AM
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glassquilt

You can still drive into Canada with just your birth certificates this year. Next year driving requires a passport. If you're taking a pet you need a health certificate from your vet. We have yet to be asked for either but I'm not taking a chance. Also we took enough dog food to get there & back; bought distilled water for dog the entire trip. Did not want to upset her tummy with any possible local difference in the waters.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:07AM
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msmeow

I don't think the government ever thinks anything through when they make changes like this! I'm sorry you had such a circumstance, but hopefully now you both have your passports and don't have to worry about it again for 10 years!

Last year DH & I needed to renew our passports. We sent in the paperwork and new photos long before the old ones expired. Didn't hear anything for weeks & weeks. We finally called and they said they were being processed. More time - no passports. We called again - still being processed. We finally annoyed them enough to tell us that the photos didn't have a white background (we took them in our kitchen which is about the palest pink you can have and not be white). We got new photos made at Walgreen's and sent them in and had the new passports in about 10 days! You'd think they could have just told us that right away instead of all the runaround.

My sister works for the USDA and she's always complaining about dealing with the government, too!

Donna

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 5:19PM
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nanciii

Well I feel your PAIN>>>>>Mary P and Aunt Net. I sent our stuff off MARCH 1st last week we had report of it taking 10-12 weeks. 4 weeks to answer email online. I finally got hubby's on TUESDAY. His states it was processed on May 22nd. Mine is still not here. Like you Aunt Net we leave in 5 weeks for the cruise. They have my birth certificate, report of birth and citizenship papers. DUH!!! Yep I was an Air Force Brat born in Germany. So I would be in a world of hurt if they lost my paperwork. So Next week I will start the panic.

Nanci

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 8:13AM
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nanciii

YIPEE``````````````I got mine today it's only been 14 weeks............thank God that is over.

Nanci

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 11:40AM
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crafteedee

We are traveling to China in the near future & DH & I got our passports last year no prob because we had expired passports that we could give instead of birth certificates. Our DD only had an original BC that I didn't want to give up. (Never know!!!) So, we said we'd wait on hers until we had a cert. copy of her BC. Well, we rec'd that back in Oct/Nov. & still have yet to get her passport! Have an appt to do so on Monday & get this taken care of!

I've heard that the passport turnaround time is taking a lot longer than it did last year due to the new rules & more people applying. So, if we think we will be traveling in the next 3 months, we will ask to have it expedited.

Even with all this trouble...I think it is a good idea to req. passports.

And Mary...you did all you could & even followed up with those people. Wonder what would have happened had you not called at all? Glad you got to do something. On a positive note, you will now be ready to go if something fun like that comes up again. :)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2007 at 3:40AM
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