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-   -   Passport worries (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/passport-worries-689335/)

Jazzblues1 Mar 19th, 2007 05:43 PM

Passport worries
 
My husband and I have a trip to Paris scheduled to leave 5/12. I knew that I should apply for my passport early, so I applied for it the moment I decided to take the trip, which was nearly 15 weeks in advance. I submitted an application for a passport the first week of February. At that time I was told by the clerk that because I was planning travel in mid-May, there would be no need to request expedited service. I was also assured that I would get my passport within 6 weeks of the application date.

I was beginning to get slightly worried that I had not gotten my passport in the mail yet. Then I heard a story on the news that passport offices are so backed up that it's taking 10-12 weeks to get a passport. I am particularly concerned because I just looked at my bank account and saw that the check to the state department did not even get cashed until last week! I tried to check the status of my application online, and it says that there is no record of my application. Calling the national passport information number does no good either, as you get put on hold for a long time, only to get hung up on.

I heard that applications taking 10-12 weeks from the time the checks are cashed. Could that possibly be true? If that's the case, I will miss my trip for sure. I would have paid the extra money for expedited processing had they been honest with me about how long this would take.

Has anyone missed a trip because of the longer processing times for passports?

I know there are regional passport agencies that can get you a passport quickly if you are travelling within two weeks. I plan to do this if I still don't have my passport by the end of April. Has anyone had any experience with these? If you go to a regional passport agency after you have already submitted an application the standard route, do you have to pay all the processing fees all over again?

bcirish Mar 19th, 2007 06:11 PM

I do not know the impact of new passport rules on the length of time for a passport but we needed to renew one last year and it was on it' s way to us as soon as the check cleared. To give yourself some peace of mind. you may wish to try talking to the people at one of the regional offices if you are close and ask them when you should start to panic and what the process would be if you need to work through them. I think you should be fine but checking out the alternatives is always a good idea. Good luck

luvtotravel Mar 19th, 2007 06:39 PM

Call your congressman and request assistance. It worked for me. Do a search with "passport" in the search box and read the stories other people have told on the same subject.

kelliebellie Mar 19th, 2007 06:58 PM

Relax! All is well. I think the passport office is open until midnight or some such thing. Call them late at night. I had no trouble getting a person on the phone and they can expedite your passport no problem. I had mine a few days later. And there didn't ever seem to be a record of it on-line until after it arrived. The people on the phone are super nice once you get ahold of one of them. You have to pay more, but it is worth it!

laartista Mar 19th, 2007 06:58 PM

When I was young and irresponsible ( I know this is not the case with you) I waited until 8 weeks before my first trip to put in my passport app. They said it would take 5-6 weeks I figured I was golden. Well, the night before I was to leave for London no passport. I was in College and the next morning ,day of my flight at 9 pm , in my P.J.'s (true story) I drove to the airport in Syracuse boarded a Peoples Express flight, got a bus into NYC and stood on line at the passport agency only to find out I needed to show my plane ticket for them to issue one on the spot. One problem, left it in my apartment , so only armed with my wallet I went to British Airways got a new ticket and back to passport agency and got the passport that day, exactly 5 hours before my flight. My first trip to Europe and I arrive at Heathrow in Pajamas, boots, leather bomber jacket and no luggage for a 10 day trip. When my dad got his credit card bill that was for emergency only he pitched a fit, it took me 2 years to pay him back. LOL So in an emergency I think with plane tickets in hand you can have your passport issued on site. At least you used to be able to.

djkbooks Mar 19th, 2007 07:18 PM

http://travel.state.gov/passport/abo.../npic_898.html

Only you can determine the best course of action. You do have quite a bit of time before it's necessary to panic or pay fee to expedite.

I don't think they were being dishonest, only optimistic...

Recommend calling until you get through...

Fidel Mar 19th, 2007 07:47 PM

HA laartista. The best part of the story.....stylin' in your pjs on PEOPLES EXPRESS.

kelliebellie Mar 19th, 2007 07:47 PM

Here you go:

1-877-487-2778

Please note that representatives are available from 7:00 a.m. to 12 midnight, ET, Monday-Friday, except federal holidays.

Call right before you go to bed. They can tell you exactly where your application is in the process and when it will be delivered.

They must have hit the wrong button when they hung up on you. I swear they are really nice! My husband accidently threw out our passports about 6 weeks before our Caribbean trip. I did have to end up expediting them in the middle of the process.

You will have a great time in Paris.

ira Mar 20th, 2007 06:40 AM

Hi J,

I wouldn't panic until mid-April.

Then I would call my MC's office and tell them about the unconscionable delay.

Members of Congress are pretty good about helping constituents.

((I))

LHS Mar 20th, 2007 07:43 AM

I applied 2/9, the message on the above link says: "Your application is still being processed, but the timesframe for issuing your passport has increased due to workload.

When you applied, you requested Routine Service and Routine Delivery of your passport. Passport Agencies use Priority Mail.

This means you should receive your passport within 10 weeks from the date you applied. Depending upon how the facility where you applied forwarded your application, you should receive your passport on or about 04/02/2007."

My daughter applied 3/9 and there is no record of it.

Dukey Mar 20th, 2007 07:56 AM

There was an article in The Washington Post just this past weekend which indicated that due to the new passport requirements the processing time is likely to double and that even the "expedited" time of two weeks or so will probably double to four.

Tulips Mar 20th, 2007 09:00 AM

Oh, you poor people. I recently applied for a new Dutch passport from the Dutch consulate in Antwerp. Applied in person on Monday. It was delivered registered mail by the postman on Friday. The same week. This was not express service, but regular service.

Dukey Mar 20th, 2007 09:03 AM

Apparently because of the new rules about needing passports the number of applications has skyrocketed.

Kate_W Mar 20th, 2007 09:13 AM

Was there a place on the passport application to specify your expected travel date? (There is on the Canadian passport applications.) If so, then I wouldn't worry until later in April, as I expect that they will keep your travel date in mind.

Kellye Mar 20th, 2007 01:17 PM

I would suggest you don't panic. We are traveling in July and we applied on 2/20/07 with regular service. I have kept diligently checking online at the link provided by the State Department and our applications just showed up this week. It gives us an ETA of 4/30. Since you applied 2-3 weeks before I did, I would imagine that your passports should arrive within the next 2-3 weeks, still in plenty of time. If it reassures you to call though, by all means, I would call them! Keep us posted.

Jazzblues1 Mar 20th, 2007 03:29 PM

Kellye,

Just out of curiosity, when was your check cashed? It seems that they are not processing things in the order in which they were received, nor are they taking into account travel dates, because I sent mine in 3 weeks before you did, my travel date is two and a half months before yours. I am still not been entered into the system, whereas you have been entered and have an ETA for your passports. It seems they are just processing things willy-nilly.

I tried calling several times today. No luck. Hung up on every time. I also tried emailing them, but their website says the turn around time for that is 2-4 days.

So I guess I'll wait until closer to my travel date, but I fear that if even the expedited service is taking 4-5 weeks, it will be too late come April.

MelJ Mar 20th, 2007 04:31 PM

Thanks to advice on an earlier thread, my daughter contacted our Congresswoman's office when we realized that her family's passports (sent for on 2/4) would most likely not be here before leaving on 4/4.

They were incredible! Tracked them down, had them expedited and FedExed to her within one week of asking--no additional charges, either.


ready2travel Mar 20th, 2007 04:47 PM

My husband just became an American citizen 2 weeks ago and applied, after the naturalization ceremony, for an expedited passport. The cost was an additional $60 and it was worth every penny since the new passport arrived today !!!

You might also consider using private passport expediting services, e.g., passportsandvisas.com and passportexpress.com - I once had to do this several years ago and my new passport arrived in time although the cost was higher (somewhere between $150 - 180).

Good luck !!

italy06 Mar 20th, 2007 04:55 PM

My husband and I applied for an expedited passport renewal on March the 8th. I received mine back on the 16th and my husband received his yesterday. I must assume that renewals go a little quicker. I also Fedex'ed it and put in a Fedex envelope to send back to me. It was worth the extra money but it seems that it varies wildly in terms of their response. Good luck.

Brazilnut Mar 20th, 2007 05:39 PM

I recently had to get a new US passport and it took me less than three weeks. I applied in Salvador, Bahia, and the passport was issued through the American Consulate in Rio de Janeiro. But my Brazilian passport (I have dual citizenship) I had done in just one day...


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