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Sweating bullets - NO PASSPORT - leave in 5 days

Sweating bullets - NO PASSPORT - leave in 5 days

May 17th, 2007, 02:10 PM
  #21  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 3,585
Thank you all for your help.

After leaving several messages, I finally got through to a real person at my congressman's office (Spencer Bacchus (R-AL). The lady found out the passport was through New Hampshire (which she said was very good since New Orleans has a slower record). She said she asked for an expedite and will call me back tomorrow with the FedEx tracking number if all goes well.

I am now on pins and needles, waiting for that call tomorrow.

I will let you all know how it goes. THANKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hershey is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 02:46 PM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
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hi, hershey,

I'm amazed that with all of the posts there are about this, and the calls all your congress memebers keep getting, that the US haven't sorted this out!

the UK system used to be just as bad, but a few years ago, they reorganised, and now the longest it should take is a month. also they courier it to you so it can't get lost/stolen in the post.

there could be some votes in getting it sorted.

regards, ann
annhig is online now  
May 17th, 2007, 02:55 PM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Mark, and thanks for all the tips that I might need soon.
hopscotch is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 02:59 PM
  #24  
 
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Good luck!

I'm also down to the time crunch. My sister and I applied together and I was able to successfully expedite hers in the past week (for free through her congressman) and she received it on Tuesday. I called my congressman for a 2nd time yesterday and she said that she would e-mail to expedite again. Today it still sits in processing status. I've also spoken to the National Passport office numerous times. They've also sent two e-mails now requesting that mine be expedited. They say that each processing office does not have phones so the only means of contact is by e-mail!! They also said that if I were to show up at an office without an appointment, I would be turned away by security at the door.

I spent a lot of time trying to get through the appointment line. I would speed dial over and over until the transfer would actually go through. Note that if you actually get through and try to set an appt, you will probably get a very long period of silence during the appt search, but if you stay on the line, eventually the process will continue. I held on unexpected dead silence for nearly 20 minutes my first time through. I first searched by next available afternoon appt and got May 30th at 1:30, which is not much help since I travel on May 26th. I couldn't figure out a way to switch over to searching for morning appts without calling back, so I booked that appt and then called back, said that I wanted to change my appt, and searched morning appts. This time the process was a little different. When I had searched afternoon appts, it just said that the next available was on May 30th. When I called to CHANGE my existing appt, it went through a day by day search, telling me that day 1 was booked, so I chose the option to search the next day. Finally, I managed to get in on May 23rd at 10:30a in Houston. I don't know if the process is significantly different between setting an appt for the first time or changing an existing appt, but if you get something far out, then it might be beneficial to book it and then call back and try to change the appt. Maybe I just got lucky. My next step was to start trying various offices for an open appt prior to my trip date - even if it meant flying across the country.

I hope that I don't have to make that trip next week, but I do feel better about having a backup plan (however costly and inconvenient).

FYI - The National Passport Office stated that they enter appt cancellations into the system between 6:30p and 7:00p daily, so if you can't get an appt, call back during that time period and see if anything new has opened up.

They also recommended that if I couldn't get an appt at the nearest office (Houston), I could travel elsewhere. If N.O. is your nearest office, perhaps you should try Houston, too. It's several hours away, but if N.O. is 6 hours, then Houston should still be drivable back and forth in a really long day.

One thing that I didn't get a good answer to when speaking to the National Passport Agency....I asked if the offices have Saturday appts and the girl said that they do, but only in emergency cases. She later said that the only way to set an appt is through the automated number. So...How does one get one of those emergency Saturday appts, I wonder? Maybe through a congressman???

MRK in Dallas
mrkindallas is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 03:13 PM
  #25  
 
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Hershey, I hope this works out for you; sounds like you're jumping through the right hoops now. I'd be a wreck...actually, I'd be throwing a tantrum.

Interestingly, there was just today an article about passport renewal in the SFChron. Ed Perkins, an experienced travel writer, advises that we renew our passports at least 6 months prior to expiration.

There's also some interesting stuff in this article about passports sometimes not being "enough" to cross certain borders -- even when you've done all your research and think they are enough...

http://tinyurl.com/ysc9uc
LucieV is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 03:52 PM
  #26  
LN
 
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Hershey

Please - call her back tomorrow and tomorrow afternoon if you haven't talked by afternoon. Keep calling - each government agency (State and Passport Division) has a congressional liaison office - these people can fastrack the application and make certain that it arrives in time. But you have to stay on top of it.
LN is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 04:08 PM
  #27  
 
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I am just curious if you can tell us when they cashed your check. I sent my renewal in the second week of April and my check was cashed within 10 days and it has said processing since then which I think is decent since the site says it can take many weeks for the status to show up.
jcepk1 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 07:53 AM
  #28  
 
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hi, again, hershey,

well my showing off has really bitten me on the B-U-M -



as my DH has only a paper driving licence, [no photo ID] he needs an international dirvers permit to drive in SA, which is where we are going in July.

AFter the web-site froze my computer last night, I enquried at my local post office today, to learn that he will have to apply in person to Penzance PO. no, she didn't know why, nor what documents he'd need.

so I got the form for him to replace his old paper licence with a new -style one. This will only take 3 weeks!!! [allegedly]

I will let you know.

meanwhile, Hershey, I do hope that you've got your passport.

regards, ann
annhig is online now  
May 18th, 2007, 08:23 AM
  #29  
 
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like many hoping to see a post viola we got it!
PalenQ is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 10:00 AM
  #30  
 
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There are posts on this forum about this regularly, and they never cease to amaze me. It takes me days to renew my passport, and that's not expedited (Dutch passport). Why doesn't everyone call their congressman/woman if that speeds things up? And why can they do it only if a congresman's office calls them? 3 months to renew a passport, or even apply for a new one, seems really excessive.
Tulips is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 10:07 AM
  #31  
 
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This backlog and delays are being caused by some changes to existing requirements and some pending changes as well ie: flying into the US from Canada now requires a passport where not required before. In the future driving across the border will lead to the same. Many people are renewing or applying anticipating a need and travelers are caught in the rush.
crispy7876 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 10:12 AM
  #32  
 
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I haven't had to do it lately, did in 2004 and it took about a month. But the US is a much larger country than the Netherlands, and perhaps we don't have as many civil service employees working on those things per citizen.

The whole Congress thing actually irritates me (I've never had any problem, as I said), because it is annoying that this is what Congressmen's staffs are spending their time on, and the taxpayers money, as the staff is paid by public funds, and this has nothing to do with their job. I suppose they call someone up and are more likely to have a direct line and some influence than a private citizen, I guess.

It isn't the only way to do it, though, it's just what some people do.
Christina is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 10:19 AM
  #33  
 
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I think the delay is kind of a scandal - there are passport expediters who are guaranteed a number of slots where they can get their clients quick passports - the State Dept has agreed to this - these expediters work with individuals but are invaluable to cruise and group tours so they can assure passports.

to me it should be one queue, one price next up next served but Congress or someone has caved into special interests - not surprising i guess.
PalenQ is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 10:30 AM
  #34  
 
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The Houston Passport office can usually issue a passport in 24 hours (mon-fri). You could try calling them and set up an appointment for Monday.
Zemom is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 11:37 AM
  #35  
 
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Do you have to send in your existing passport with your application?
wombat7 is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 11:59 AM
  #36  
 
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Christina,

I beg to differ. Those public servants ARE doing their job when they intervene on behalf of a private citizen who is having difficulty in getting the attention of obstinate or inefficient departments in the Executive branch. They act, in these cases as an ombudsman for Joe Sixpack.

In my opinion, this is probably their most important job. Certainly more important than the legislation their bosses never seem to get around to passing except those that raise my taxes.

nukesafe is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 12:01 PM
  #37  
 
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Yes i believe i had to send in my old passport which was returned with cancelled holes punched in it
PalenQ is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 12:07 PM
  #38  
 
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It would be fascinating to hear from just ONE of these employees from the "obstinate and ineffective" agency to see what they might have to say about all of this.


of course, they might actually give the OP the unwanted "lecture" so maybe it is just as well we don't hear from any of these folks. After all, we wouldn't anyone to be offended


Dukey is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 01:58 PM
  #39  
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UPDATE: We have a FedEx tracking number!!!

When I check on it on-line it says "No information for the following shipments has been received by our system yet. Please try again later or contact Customer Service" so I'm assuming it hasn't actually gone out yet. My congressman's office said it would arrive tomorrow. I am beginning to doubt that but feel much better than I did yesterday.

Thanks again for everyone's help.
Hershey is offline  
May 18th, 2007, 04:33 PM
  #40  
 
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Hershey,
I didn't see this until today. I was going to suggest calling Congressman Bachus' office as someone else did. I am also in Bham. I applied on 2/21 (non-expedited) and ours arrived on 5/7. A friend who had applied in late January needed his for a trip that left on March 3 and he was sweating it. I suggested he call Bachus' office and they were ready to step in, but then his passport came on 4/25 or so. I hope you see that Fed Ex arrow in front of your house tomorrow AM.
Kellye is offline  

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