If your passport is stuck in Charleston

Old May 23rd, 2007, 05:42 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 367
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If your passport is stuck in Charleston

I received my passport today. I leave on Saturday. It took nearly 12 weeks. When the 14th day prior to my trip arrived, I called the National Passport Information Center and requested an expedite. A couple of days before, I called my congressman's office for help.

The National Passport Information Center *requested* an expedite three times within the last 11 days, none of which were acknowledged by Charleston.

My Congressman is Kenny Marchant. When I first spoke to the assistant in his office, she said she would be able to help and claims to have requested an expedite on that day. The following week when I called back for status, she acted disinterested in my situation because of the number of people she said she was trying to help who were traveling in the next couple of days. She didn't sound as though she would help me until I was within the same week of travel. After explaining that I was not satisfied with that response, she said she'd request the expedite again.

Last Friday, when I last checked with the National Passport Information Center, my application had not been expedited and there was nothing they could recommend other than to keep calling or go to Houston.

I would have gladly gone to Houston if the scene there wasn't has horrible as I've heard and read about. It sounded like Houston held no promises and I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

The National Passport Information Center had previously told me that there were no phones in the Charleston office and that the only means of communication is e-mail. This didn't sound believable, so with some searching, I was able to find the number set up in Charleston for congressional offices to call. I called the number myself on Monday morning and the phone was answered in 19 seconds. I spoke to a very pleasant woman who stated that my congressman's office had NOT contacted them (sounds like we are paying my congressman to be a lying politician), but she would go talk to the processor immediately and get my passport out either Monday or Tuesday. Monday afternoon, I called back and a very pleasant and helpful male explained that my passport had finally been quality controlled and printed, but did not get packaged in enough time to make the FedEx pick-up for the day, but it would be packaged in the morning. I called back mid-day on Tuesday and was given the FedEx tracking number. Within 30 minutes, another representative called and provided me with the same tracking number, not knowing that I had already called in and obtained it. It arrived early this morning.

I have conflicted feelings about posting the phone number. On one hand, if I post it, many frustrated people can get some relief. On the other hand, if I post it, it will inevitably be abused by people who are not in a last-minute urgent situation. I feel somewhat obligated to help people by posting the number, but I also feel that I will be hurting those same people because others who aren't in emergency situations will be calling the number.

My compromise: post the fax number. The fax number to Charleston is 843-746-1688. I ask that you only use this if your case is urgent and you are not able to get help through your congressman's office and you are traveling in the next 10 days.

Inasmuch as I did not actually use the fax to solve my situation, I don't know how successful this will be, but after speaking to so many people at the Charleston office, I feel sure that they are doing as much as they can under the circumstances and would respond to fax requests from applicants as possible. At the very least, it is one more avenue for you to explore if your passport is stuck in Charleston and you are in a panic.

Good luck!
mrkindallas is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2007, 05:45 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 367
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Also, if you use the fax, I suggest that you attach proof of your upcoming flight.
mrkindallas is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:42 PM
  #3  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,016
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How do you find out at which passport office your application is being processed?
J62 is online now  
Old May 23rd, 2007, 08:19 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are in a crisis situation.

Can you please email me the phone number? I promise I will not post the phone number.

By the way, you need to copy the address and not just click on it.

Thanks!

[email protected]
withkids is offline  
Old May 24th, 2007, 01:39 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would suggest you contact your congressman one last time with this info. If it were me I would also point out that I will remember this "service" come election time
CarolA is offline  
Old May 24th, 2007, 03:04 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,247
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm with CarolA, I'd let my congressman know his assistant did not do her job. It reflects badly on him.
jody is offline  
Old May 24th, 2007, 03:42 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 367
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
J62 - You would need to contact the National Passport Information Center first and ask where your passport is being processed.

withkids - Check your e-mail

CarolA and jody - I did all that I could to try to get more help from my congressman's office. When the girl assigned to handling passport issues did not help me, I called back and asked to speak to someone else. The person who answered the phone would not forward me to anyone and said that Amanda is doing all she can and I'd have to speak to her. I then called my congressman's Washington DC number and plead for help. I got someone a little more concerned, but she assured me that she'd already spoken to Amanda about the passport situation and Amanda had told her that she was no longer able to get through to Charleston and that Charleston was ignoring her e-mails. I then called another local congressman's office (who helped me get my sister's passport expedited very quickly) and she said she was sorry, but she couldn't help me since I am not in her district. She did take the time to explain what I would need to do when I got to Houston, but said that I'd have to continue to try to work with Amanda. The last four times I've tried to call Amanda, I've been told that she's not in yet and doesn't come in until noon. Or when she is in, I ask if she is available and I am told "yes" and placed on hold. Moments later, someone will come back and say that she is on the phone and has four other callers on hold.

Now that I have my passport, I will be calling the DC office again and explaining what I had to do in order to get my passport and that Amanda still hasn't returned any of my phone calls.
mrkindallas is offline  
Old May 24th, 2007, 06:13 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17,226
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Why not just use a passport service to expedite the passport? Yes, you have to pay for them to walk the passport renewal through for you, but the price HAS to be a bargain considering all this angst.
starrsville is offline  
Old May 24th, 2007, 06:27 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 703
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Evidently this is a HUGE problem. Our newspaper in Austin ran an article today addressing this issue. Showed a photo of people sleeping on the sidewalks in Houston waiting to get in to check on their passport applications. Officials are blaming the new regulation that travelers need passports to enter Mexico and Canada. They say they are adding personnel to process the volume of applications but many folks have had to cancel their trips . Most applicants submitted their papers well before the supposed cutoff date for their projected departure out of the country but it is taking weeks longer to get them approved.
caroltis is offline  
Old May 24th, 2007, 12:52 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My daughter and I went to our local PO which now has a Passport office and she applied for her renewal passport which expires in July. The woman there who was such a help told us that for Vacaville the passport renewal would be sent to either Los Angeles or Charleston..they never know in advance which office will be used. She advised my daughter to figure at least 13 weeks before receiving her renewal. In my daughters case that is not a problem as she will not be leaving the US in the coming months but it sure is a good reminder to everyone to apply for their first passport or their renewal passport far in advance.
LoveItaly is offline  
Old May 24th, 2007, 05:00 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Oh, please can you provide the number? I can give you my email. We have a trip on May 29 th and have been waiting 12 weeks. They keep telling me they are processing but Charleston is not responding to my emails for expediting. We need ours by 5/25 or 5/26 at latest because of holiday weekend. Please Please Please.
My email is [email protected]

Thanks.
dwfan is offline  
Old May 30th, 2007, 06:23 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are leaving next Saturday and can't seem to make any headway. I have call the passport information center several time and each time have been told that they are "expediting it". I have called Congressman Kenny Marchant's office and they are trying to help, but they haven't been able to confirm that we will get it. At first we were told that we could go to Houston, but now, they are too busy. Next was New Orleans, now too busy. Our choices now are to go to Chicago or Colorado. Can you please send us the phone number that you used?? [email protected] Thank you.
coachrwebb is offline  
Old May 31st, 2007, 11:38 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 156
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
mrkinddallas

Urgent situation!
Please be so kind as to email the Charleston office phone number to me.

[email protected]

We applied 12 weeks ago.

We are leaving Monday 6/4/07 7:15am. We have been calling the 800 number. We have spoken several times to our congressional representative.

Thanks
Mary
marymarathons is offline  
Old May 31st, 2007, 07:42 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 134
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Mary, check your email.

By the way, we will be leaving so I won't be able to help anyone after Saturday.



withkids is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2007, 05:39 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please, please pass the number along to me. My husband and I are supposed to be leaving the country to celebrate our wedding anniversary in one week but still don't have our passports. We applied for them three months ago. Please help!

[email protected]
hkeese1 is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2007, 05:46 PM
  #16  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 12,016
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I called my congressman this morning to help with 2 passports. We depart in a 'few' weeks.

The assistant took my info in less than 2min, and 30min later I got a call back from the her stating that they'd expedited them and I'd get them by FedEx by next Wed.

The assistant told me they were hung up at the Charleston office, but she'd called the Norwalk office.

I'll report back if I don't get them. If the congressman route works I'll thank them kindly.

J62 is online now  
Old Jun 1st, 2007, 06:06 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Did you just call the local number that is posted on the congressman's website?
hkeese1 is offline  
Old Jun 1st, 2007, 06:18 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 17,226
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Honestly, why not call a service to see if they can help? I've used www.visalady.com and they do out of state work as well. Worth a call at least to see what they have to say. Yes, there's a cost for the service, but for me it would be well worth it to avoid all the stress.
starrsville is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2007, 10:19 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I was planning to post the number also after mrkindallas provided a clue. Simply googling "charleston" passport office "843" brings up a blog where a poster was kind enough to share the #. Seemed unreasonable to act as gatekeeper when mrkindallas clearly benefited from someone else's due diligence. But I can also appreciate his hesitation, because after speaking with Shirley, you realize you're likely unleashing a torrent of desperate travelers on this poor unsuspecting woman who has single handedly just secured your passport.

Yes, the number works. And the kind lady was very helpful (I must have spoken with her last week before she got wise to her number published). While my congressman was able to secure my own passport, my son's passport was stuck in Charleston. Only after calling Shirley did the passport magically get FedEx'd overnight. Of course, my congressman's office scrambled to call me to try and take credit. But, Shirley had personally already called me an hour earlier with the good news. All credit goes to her.

The congressman's office experience was exactly the same as mrkindallas'. They said they could only contact Charleston by email and they were assisting other travelers that were departing sooner than I, so I should just sit tight. After reading mrkindallas' account, I knew we wouldn't get the passports in time unless we called Charleston ourselves. And when I called Shirley, she mentioned they receives nearly 3500 emails daily. CLEARLY, the congressman's office is almost useless if your passport if stuck in Charleston.

**One last note** My passports was a renewal by mail. My young son's was renewed in person at the post office and then mailed in to Charleston. When we received them, his had the new RFID chip implanted - mine did not. Is it possible that Charleston is handling all chip implants? And is this why they are completely swamped and unavailable?

Cheers,
Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif.
carmelbythesea is offline  
Old Jun 2nd, 2007, 12:01 PM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 367
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pennedbulls...I intentionally provided enough information for someone with enough intelligence to be able to find the number themselves. As I originally explained the reason for my hesitation to post the number myself, I also hoped that one with enough intelligence to locate the number his/her-self would also be intelligent enough not to post it on this forum. For those who requested the phone number personally, I provided it before I left on my trip. Any requests made after I left on my trip were not answered and I apologize, but I see that withkids (one person that I provided the number to) did pass it along to at least one other. (Thank you, withkids)

However, this number that you posted goes to one of the administrative offices at Charleston. It is NOT the same number that the congressional offices are to use. If this number quits working, someone with a bit of intelligence could figure out another number...That's all I'm saying...I WILL NOT POST THE NUMBER HERE whether or not you agree with the reasoning why.

I am still on my trip, but happened to check the site and was discouraged to see this number posted here. I do hope that you get your passport and that you go on your trip, but I can't help but hope that you somehow get a taste of your own medicine.

Carmelbythesea - I did not find the same site that you did, so whatever you want to think of my decision not to post the number is fine, but you jump to conclusions when you say that I benefited from someone else's due diligence. When I've provided the number to those who have asked, why be so hateful anyways?
mrkindallas is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Your Privacy Choices -