Passports. They’re the basic necessity of travel abroad. This post will refer only to US Passports and you can always find the most up-to-date information on passports at travel.state.gov (actually, a pretty sweet website).
I already have a passport and it expires next year, but based on the travel I’m setting off on, I have applied for renewal. Why renew before it expires you ask? Great question! I decided to renew over a year before it expires for a few important reasons:
- Many countries won’t allow entry within 6 months of passport expiration (so now, I have to think of my passport being good through about November)
- Renewing passports while abroad requires an in-person visit to the embassy of wherever you are (sounds complicated)
- You can ask for extra pages in your passport during renewal, and there is no extra charge (if you already have a passport and want additional pages, there IS a charge)
- Either way, I have to keep my old passport because it has a Bolivian Visa in it that is good for 5 years, so better to do it now
With that in mind, I have started the renewal process. Be sure to plan this ahead as they advise standard processing time takes 4-6 weeks.
Only Jessica. Because my life is hilarious in its own way, I wasn’t surprised when the passport office called just after I had submitted my application. I was playing phone tag to get a hold of them and was worried that I messed up my application. Once I got a hold of the nice lady at the office (p.s. a PERSON answered the phone when I called), she asked to verify my identity. Got to birthplace. I said Illinois. She informed me that I filled out Denver on my application. 10 points Jessica. Once my identity was verified, she informed that the reason for her call was actually that they found a ring in my application.
Yes, you read that correctly. Not only did I get my birthplace wrong on the application, but I also mailed them jewelry. I laughed and described the ring I assumed she found, and joked that I was batting .1000. She just wanted to verify she had the correct address to send it back to and said not to worry about the birthplace thing. They would fix it.
Whoa! A person answered the phone, and then she was so nice as to rush deliver it back to me at home. And she was nice. So impressed by the passport office.
UPDATE: I have already received my passport! Seriously, that’s got to be record time. BUT, when I checked it out, I did not receive the extra pages. I called the office who said they don’t show record of my application indicating that I wanted extra pages (oh yes sir it did – and of course I have the copy to prove it), so he advised that I send a letter (a letter!!) to the passport center to get it rectified. I’ve sent the letter and am hoping to hear back soon so that I can get it corrected before I head out. Partly because I know I’ll need the pages, but mostly because I sure don’t want to pay the extra charge!
UPDATE 2: I sent my letter in and received a call back, again quite quickly. They are making the update and have no concern about it getting back to me in time. All I needed to do was send in my passport (you know, the thing I asked if I should send along with my letter and was told not to). I have delivery confirmation that the passport is at the facility, so hopefully I’ll see the new one next week.