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Quick Passport

Ok we didn't realize a passport had expired - so we have an offer of a teaching job - but now there is a 3 month backlog in the USA for passports - the company will only send us a ticket - if we have a passport so we can then get a visa - but in order to get a rush passport we need a European plane ticket - dated in the next 2 to 3 weeks or an itineary (Official). I have been told one option for us is to get a cheap ticket ourselves with a soon travel date - but that would be expensive - unless we can get a refund. The company is paying our airfare - if we can get a passport to them in the next few weeks - not the 3 month backlog the USA has now. Any ideas? (Yep we are kicking ourselves not knowing the passport had expired). Thanks for any information.

Posted by
4555 posts

Doesn't the U-S passport office permit an "expedited service" for $60 extra, plus overnight shipping charges? That's supposed to be 2-3 weeks for delivery, and doesn't seem to require any proof of departure. Where you DO need proof of departure is when you're coming down to the last 2 weeks before you leave, and there's no sign of your passport. Check out http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/first/first_831.html

Posted by
131 posts

When my daughter needed her student Visa in a hurry for study abroad I resorted to using an expediter. It cost several hundred dollars and I wish I could remember the name of the company- I found the link on the Visa information page for the country where she was going. I had serious reservations but they were fabulous and within a week we had all her necessary documents- they went to LA for her, etc. Can't you get the foreign Visa (presumably for the work permit) yourself? You should be able to if they give you a job-offer letter. One thing that helped rush the process for us and not cost as much as the original quote was that I gathered all the information for them- not a big deal, as I remember. It might be cheaper than the plane ticket idea...

Posted by
223 posts

I just went through this...

You can get expedited service for EITHER a departure (i.e., ticket) or getting a Visa. You just have to show proof of a deadline. As the company to issue you, on letterhead, a letter saying that you must apply for a visa within the next two weeks. Then, you'll be able to walk it in to your local passport office.

Posted by
9 posts

I asked about the business letter and the passport office said no - currently there is a huge backlog for PP due to the new rules - I can't get a ticket from the employer until I have a PP either - I am going in circles. I did find about unofficial expediators but the rules are very strict - you must have a paid ticket or official Itinerary (airline one)- I do know about the government expediator too - but even it is backlogged - I thought about buying a ticket myself - but not in my budget - and the company won't refund. The old time guidelines have changed due to the new rules and tons of people applying.

I am trying to figure out before I send it off a fast way - if I send it through only the US - even fast way - it might take up to 12 weeks - if I can get an official expediator - some how some way - I can get it faster - part of the problem is I also need to get a Visa too - and need the PP first.

If I can't figure out a fast way by Sunday - then I will go with the US exped

Posted by
9 posts

I asked about the business letter and the passport office said no - currently there is a huge backlog for PP due to the new rules - I can't get a ticket from the employer until I have a PP either - I am going in circles. I did find about unofficial expediators but the rules are very strict - you must have a paid ticket or official Itinerary (airline one)- I do know about the government expediator too - but even it is backlogged - I thought about buying a ticket myself - but not in my budget - and the company won't refund. The old time guidelines have changed due to the new rules and tons of people applying.

I am trying to figure out before I send it off a fast way - if I send it through only the US - even fast way - it might take up to 12 weeks - if I can get an official expediator - some how some way - I can get it faster - part of the problem is I also need to get a Visa too - and need the PP first.

If I can't figure out a fast way by Sunday - then I will go with the US exped

Posted by
131 posts

Expedited processing is not the same as "expediter". ??? I was talking about paying a COMPANY who does all this for you, with information you provide them. For a big fee- about three hundred dollars for me, but still less than all the plane ticket stuff. They tell you what they need and guarantee the turn around time, which in our case was less than a week to receive her student Visa and passport- granted, we were just adding the former to it, but I had to trust them with the actual passport so the courier could take it to the LA office. On the other hand, maybe the new backlog is impacting these companies, too, and that is what you are talking about...frustrating- I hope it works out for you!

Posted by
223 posts

I wasn't talking about using the business letter to expedite the passport for the trip, but rather using the business letter to establish the deadline for applying for a Visa. This is what I used to get mine expedited for a Visa application. I did not have to have my ticket paid. I just needed to establish that I had to apply for a Visa within two weeks.

Posted by
9 posts

Here is a link to current USA passport delay situation -

www.usatoday.com/travel/ news/2007-05-31-passport-woes_N.htm

Called US rep - they only help with life and death emergencies - and I would still need a plane ticket and/or itinearary

National agencies - none near me - can't take time off work to drive several hundred miles - and no guarantee of getting one if I did - and need plane ticket and Itinearry for rush.

For profit rush - need plane ticket - or itenary - or business letter -- can't get until I have pp

Government - even expediated has a huge backlog.

Other countries do PPs much faster than USA - and we have so many people working on it.

Also need visa - can't get until I have PP.

So I am looking at 3 months for PP and then 6 weeks for Visa - so I think the opportunity is gone - the Canadians and other countries can get their PPs on the same day they apply.

I will just keep kicking myself - unless I can find major money to buy a plane ticket mys

Posted by
5872 posts

Have you been in contact with one of the regional Passport Agencies? http://travel.state.gov/passport/about/agencies/agencies_913.html They are set up to issue passports in circumstances like yours. You must contact them directly and set up an appointment. It does require that you travel to the office (Chicago probably for you) Possibly the Plane ticket is required as standard "proof" of need, but perhaps an official offer of employment would suffice.

Posted by
1589 posts

Go to the local office of your Representative from the US Congress. Since they run for office every two years, they are far more reponsive then the office of your Senator.

BTW, quick and passports are mutually exclusive terms these days!

Posted by
9 posts

Ok tomorrow is Monday - quess I will just have to do the postoffice run? and hope it doesn't take 3 monthes - word is even the overnight PO expedation is taking 12 weeks? Any other ideas from anyone? I can't get a plane ticket without a PP, can't get an itinary. So can't even apply for a visa yet - cause I don't have a PP - sigh.

Again any other ideas before Monday morning?

Posted by
466 posts

You do not need a plane ticket to get a rush passport. Who told you that nonsence? I got a passport in one day here in miami (mine was expired). I just went to the passport office and got the passport the next day, (no ticket required). Someone has told you the wrong information!!!

Posted by
9 posts

Thanks Mark - I do not live near a regional walkin center and cannot get to one.

Also the CURRENT situation is that yes you do need a plane ticket or itinerary (Official) for a rush passport - this is what is happening now - not what happened 6 months or a year ago. I called the PO and yes it is taking 12 weeks or 3 months to get PPs now. Once I apply in any way with the USA - it will take this long.

When you go to the USA PP site - there is update/current info - in order to get the rush PP from profiters you must have a plane ticket or Itinery - currently - that is what is required.

That is one of the reason we are caught offguard - and wanted to see if there is anyway to rush it - currently.

When you look at for profit sites - you must have a PT or Itin. For the the USA expediated - it is still taking 12 weeks - currently - they will tell you that at the PO or the USA site.

I think the USA should just hire more workers to process - but you know that is not something

Posted by
223 posts

You honest to god just need a business letter stating that you must apply for a visa within two weeks. A visa application deadline works the same for the passport agencies as a purchased plane ticket. I know, I just did it.

Posted by
9 posts

I know - but I can't get an official business letter until I have a PP - so now what? I called the PO today and the person in charge for PPs is not there - so have to wait again. Again to get a visa you need a PP - at least in the USA. I am going in circles - frustrating.

Posted by
223 posts

Call the compamy that offered you the teaching job. Ask tnem for a letter extending the offer, IF you apply for a Visa within 14 days. Then, take the letter to the PP agency as proof of your deadline to need a passport within 14 days to apply for your visa.

Posted by
5872 posts

I hate to break the news, but you have left yourself no options and will have to pass. As several have stated, your only option is to get documentation showing your need; call a regional passport agency (Chicago), set up an appointment, travel there, get the renewal, get the visa, and respond to the employer with the passport info. Since you cannot travel to Chicago, all you can do is mail in on an expedite basis and hope a renewal takes much less time than a new passport, but you will likely miss your deadline. Sorry.

Posted by
970 posts

Just applied, so this is fresh in my memory:

  1. You can pay the normal fee and expect to wait 10-12 weeks, if not longer.

  2. You can pay an extra fee for "expedited handling" and get the passport, allegedly, in 3-4 weeks.

  3. If you have less than two weeks before travel, you can call one of the nearest regional passport agencies -- they are listed on the passport page at the Dept,. of State site -- and make an appointment to visit them in person. You should leave with a passport.

  4. I''ve never used a commercial expediter, but my undetstanding is that they try to moves things along by personally showing up at the passport office.

  5. The advice to call your rep in Congress is good. Apparently, many of them have staffers working on passport complaints full time. I can only help.

Posted by
35 posts

So, we booked our flight in March and my passport expired in April. I looked at the government website and at that time, they said passports were taking 6 weeks to process. Since I had 99 days, I still believed in the government and thought I was safe. I received confirmation that it had been delivered on April 3rd. At about week 8, I tracked it to see where it was and found out it was in Portsmouth, NH. On the 21st of June, the National Passport Agency (877-487-2778) said they'd email a request for it to be expedited, that I should have it within 5 days and to call back in a week if it hadn't arrived. On the 27th I spoke with Lamar who told me they weren't allowed to resend the request until the 28th. Called the 28th, they resent the request and recommended I call every day to check status. 6/29 called Pam, NH hadn't responded to email yet. 6/30, Steve, no response from NH yet. Emailed George Bush, VP Cheney, governors and senators in both NH and Utah to ask for help.

Posted by
35 posts

Called the offices of Judd Gregg in NH (603-431-2171) closed, of course. 7/1 Talked to Alexa, still no response from NH--and there is no way to contact NH office because it is a No Public Allowed office. (NATIONAL Passport Center 31 Rochester Avenue Portsmouth, NH 03801-2900). Alexa told me I should call and make an appointment with a walk-in center. 7/1 Just spent 4 hours on the phone calling various centers; there are NO appointments in Colorado, Los Angelos or San Francisco. Finally found one in Houston, a mere 1,450 miles away. Fortuitously, my original flight went from SLC-DFW-ZRH then on to Easten Europe so maybe, I thought, I could fly in on July 8th rather than July 9th and boogie down to Houston then back up to Dallas in order to catch my flight to Zurich on the 10th; called American Airlines--the only flight they have available for me is on the 5th. I get to spend 5 days in Dallas before I leave, leaving my husband behind in SLC. I should be able to write this off.

Posted by
9 posts

It is who you know that gets you expediated.

Read www.travelblog.com - guy named David in a college political party club got a chance to go to Taiwan - called his congress person and got one very fast!

Strange how that happened for him - but not for us!

The rush companies must have a plane ticket or iteneray for you to get a rush passport - it states that in the details - I cannot afford to go to an on site place - my understanding is you have to prove an emergency - or prob have some extra money for all of it.

It's ridiculous for it to take this long - not to mention they really need to come up with a better way - they make tons of mistakes anyway.

It is all about who has money or knows someone - if I had either of those - I could get it fast!

And yes I called the rush companies and I must have a ticket - no ticket - no rush - I cannot get a ticket without a PP - I don't care what anyone says - cause I tried in everyway I could - so yes the wait is very long - even

Posted by
9363 posts

I think everyone has offered you every option available to you. If none work for you, then there is nothing to do but apply the regular way. If the teaching job was that important, though, I'd think that you could find time to drive to Chicago for a passport appointment.

Posted by
9 posts

Like the other Michele said - there are no appointments available in many locations. I am not a millionaire either - so I can't afford to make long distance calls and hop on airplanes myself without a school paying for it. Like I said money and who you know counts big time. If I was a millionaire I wouldn't need to go overseas to teach - I would just wait for the PP and take a long vacation instead. It wasn't a matter of the job being important - it had to do with getting a job at all considering Indiana's economy. So I will just have to wait for another opportunity latter and somehow manage to stay afloat financially.

Thanks everyone. I had already tried it all already - good to know I tried and there were not any other options.

Posted by
9363 posts

j.c., Rick, Paul and others....thank you for trying to be a voice of reason in this discussion, and for giving clear explanations of the problem. Sometimes people don't want an answer when the answer involves taking personal responsibility.

Posted by
2779 posts

Wow, and we in Europe always thought the US was a well developed country. When I as German citizen need a new passport (or an extension) I go to the "citizens' office" in my ZIP code area, fill out a short form, attach two brand new pictures and four weeks later I receive a postcard from Berlin telling me that my passport is ready for pick-up at my citizens' office. And if I needed a passport sooner than in 4 weeks I could get a temporary one within one hour at any citizens' office in the entire country - so even nearby another airport... But I assume in the US you'd call that communism...

Posted by
970 posts

Andreas, that's not unlike how it should work here: Go to a local post office, apply, and get passport in a few weeks. Most post offices also can take the photos. A temp passport seems like a good idea, but Homeland Security would probably go nuts.

The problem right now is that the government dramatically increased the Passport Office's workload while apparently doing nothing to increase it's capacity. It's easy to blame that office or it's parent agency, the State Department, but for all we know they urged postponement of the new rules and asked for funds to staff up and were denied on both counts.

That said, they are failing to meet the needs of the American people. It's apparent that thousands of people are cancelling trips and suffering real financial losses simply because the Passport Office is failing to live up to its own published promises. It ought to be, and will be, a political issue.

Posted by
2779 posts

JC, there is no money to serve the American people's needs but there seems to be plenty of money to implement a publich health system in Iraq, for Boeing to build a missle-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic and for Halliburton to... for just being the Vice President's baby... But hey, that's all none of my business.

Posted by
473 posts

Andreas - Don't feel bad if it all seems confusing. It is. The problem with the passports is that previously, US citizens travelling to Mexico, Canada, and the Carribean needed only proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate or voter registration card. The requirements were changed so that we needed a passport. Well, the government didn't realize how many American travel to those countries. That has created the current mess. Recently, the requirements were changed back, because so many people were missing vacations and business trips because they weren't able to get their passport in time. The sane thing to due would have been to implement the new rules for one country at a time, such as first Mexico, then Canada, then the Carribean. Sadly, there is no requirement that sanity and clear thinking drive government policy. Which seems to be pretty much worldwide...

Posted by
3 posts

Michelle, go ahead and apply for a regular expedited passport. On June 11, I applied for a renewal and my husband applied for a first time passport for travel in September. We payed for expedited service but saved money by not spending extra for the overnight delivery. My passport came in 9 days, and my huband's took 12. We didn't need to prove travel plans or anything special. If your passport does not come within the standard 2-3 weeks, you can apply to have your expedition fee refunded. If you had gone this route when you first posted on June 13, you would have had your passports for almost two weeks now!

Posted by
970 posts

That's interesting, Holly, I hope you aren't a lucky exception, but I suspect you are. I applied on 29 June with expedited everything. My status is unavailable at the State site, which warns that "It is currently taking 7-10 days to begin tracking your application whether you requested Routine Service or Expedite Service and overnight delivery."

It also says that " ...if your information (last name, date of birth, and last four digits of your Social Security Number) matches more than one record in our database your record will not appear online." One would need to know how the passport database is structured to interpret that.

Now, it would be nice to know if it takes 7-10 days for your status to show up because of database limitations or because every application -- routine or expedited -- sits in a queue for 7-10 days before it's even opened.

Posted by
970 posts

Also, Michelle, it's your call, of course. But, Chicago is 4-hour drive from Indianapolis. Even if you don't want to pay for an overnight stay, isn't it worth getting up really early and coming home really late?

Get the letter from your prospective employer (ask them to fax it). Ask for an appointment at the Chicago office. But, even if you don't get an appointment, go anyway and be in line at the office when it opens. I've seen several online posts by people saying that people without appointments were not turned away, but were processed after everyone with an appointment.

If worse comes to worse, they will just say "Go away". If not, you will very probably leave with a passport.

Posted by
3 posts

hi j.c., my application never showed up on the online tracking as being processed; it went from nothing straight to providing a tracking code for shipment. Three days after the passport came, we got the notice in the mail that my application had been received and was being processed.

My husband's application never showed up in the online tracking at all, even though we checked the same day it arrived at our home. His mailed notice also came the same day as the passport.

We may be the exception, I have no idea. We definitely have no connections, though.

Posted by
515 posts

I have friends who expedited their renewal in mid- June and received it last week.I applied Mid-April for a renewal - routine processing and am still waiting at 11 weeks. Another friend applied in early March and they to are still waiting. This is a mess and it just doesn't seem right that those who expedite now are receiving theirs within two weeks and they are pushed ahead of those who applied much earlier but chose regular processing.

Posted by
970 posts

Chris, yes, it's a mess. We are all owed a big apology.

I may be wrong, but I believe expedited processing has always been an option, not something recently offered. In any case, there are lots of stories out there about expedited applications taking 8-10 weeks.

Posted by
970 posts

Point taken Andreas, and not contested. However, there is no reason to think that the passport backlog is due to a funds shortage. I'd opt for sheer inertia and bad management. But, as you say, it's really no more an issue for you to worry about than the performance of the Merkel government is for me.

Posted by
20 posts

Michelle,

I know you wrote that going to Chicago wasn't an option for you. I would encourage you to take another look at that and see what can be done. Does the Amtrack run between Indy and Chicago? Do you know anyone up there you could stay with overnight? There may be a hostel in the area, or a college dorm that you can stay a night in (Univ of IL-Chicago, etc).

When my cousin realized his passport was expired, he went to Chicago without an appointment, waited all day, and was seen after everyone with an appointment. He had a renewed passport in about six hours. It won't hurt to go and flirt with one of the agents. ;)
Best,
Karen

Posted by
515 posts

J.C. Yes-expedited was always an option but I guess I still believed mistakenly that things would work as they should and I hadn't yet read or heard of all the problems or I would have expedited-my bad. Fortunately my timetable is not as close as others but I am wondering what one could realistically expect regarding routine delivery without US Senatorial intervention? How close to the promised 10-12 weeks can we expect to receive our passports or are we still going to be biting our fingernails at the 24 week mark with two weeks before departure. I have not made final payment on a very expensive trip and that's my next dilemma.

Has anyone received their passport routine delivery and how long did it take without an intervention?

Posted by
711 posts

Hi Michelle.. I know you probably don't need any more comments, but my husband just sent his old passport in to renew because we are going to France in October and his passport would expire in December. We had heard the stories about needing more time on the passport. We sent it 2 weeks ago, and got it back already.This is how we did it - paid for the fast service- $127.00. Then we sent it certified express mail- they even sent it back express mail and we did not pay for that!! Then on the date for our trip we put August 1st. I had heard that it still took 4-6 weeks even with the expidited servece, but 2 weeks through Chicago. We were shocked.

Posted by
970 posts

Chris, Jane -- I've seen a lot of reports about routine applications taking more than 12 weeks, but I don't recall seeing reports of processing that added more than a few weeks to that. Meanwhile, I've been told by travel professionals to expect to wait 8 weeks or so for my expedited application. I've also seen a number of reports about renewals coming back in 2 weeks or so. That makes sense, since, presumably, a renewal involves less work.

Who really knows, though? Certainly, a lot of anecdotal evidence exists that the estimates given at the State site are way short of the mark. It's one thing to be upset about the State Department telling you it will take 12 weeks to process your application. It's another thing for the State Department to tell us that and then fail to deliver.

Posted by
515 posts

Mine is a renewal so I didn't think it would take that long since everything is on file and there were no changes. Still hoping....

Posted by
17 posts

Good Passport news! We sent our expired passports expedited on Monday June 18, and I received mine back Saturday July 7!! less than 21 days. I even changed my name, sent marriage license, etc., and it all came back in my express pre-paid mail packet. It was worth the extra $$.

Jerri

Posted by
1 posts

My wife just got her passport and we had it expedited through the post office and it cost about $187.00 when all said and done and she had it here in 5 days. we were a little worried because everyone said it could take up to 3 months to get it the regular way.