Please sign in to post.

Serious Passport Problem

This may not be the correct forum for this situation, but here goes:
My girlfriend and I are scheduled to leave for London & Paris on Sept 7th. We were not able to arrange our trip until the last week in June. Her passport was expired, so she filed her application for a new passport on 6/27/23 and paid the extra fee for the expedited service.
So here it is the 7th of August, and we've got 31 days left until we are scheduled to depart. She has called the passport office a couple of times, and all they will tell her is that her application is "in process". The Passport office website says that their walk-in office in Washington will not assist anyone who does not have an appointment, and that appointments must be arranged only by the applicant. The big problem is that she lives in Williamsburg, and will have to make two trips to Washington: One trip to set up the appointment at the walk-in facility, and then a second trip to actually meet with a representative there.
I'm tempted to call her congressman to ask for help, but am concerned that if I do that, I tick off someone at the passport office which will further delay the issuance of the passport.
Finally, I am really worried about what might happen if we can't get her passport by the time our flight is scheduled to depart. I paid over $4K for the tickets, and am quite concerned about losing the airfare.

Posted by
4697 posts

Did you book refundable flights by any chance?
I would definitely be trying my congressional rep. Can't hurt--good luck!

Posted by
20478 posts

I'm tempted to call her congressman to ask for help, but am concerned that if I do that, I tick off someone at the passport office which will further delay the issuance of the passport.

I read that some congressmen have several staff members doing nothing but following up on these issues. I would not worry about ticking off anyone in the passport office, but she should be the one to contact her congressperson, not you.

Worst case, the passport office will tell her congressperson, that congress should allocate the funds to hire and train people to handle this work load.

Posted by
1990 posts

I am hoping that you purchased insurance through the airline and perhaps they cover the cost if she does not receive her passport in time. Maybe they will provide both of you with a voucher for a future flight.

Or aren't you allowed to change dates for a fee but still allowed to change dates.

Are you allowed to resell your airline tickets on ebay?

I suggest that you also call the credit card that you used to pay for the flights. Maybe they will assist you, somehow. Don't credit cards sometimes offer travel insurance automatically. It is a benefit with your credit card.

I hear that you paid for expedited service but isn't there also some kind of white glove service. For a lot of extra money, you get white glove treatment and they can work this out. I do not know why I am thinking there is such a service but maybe ther eis.

Finally, I know that you do not want to think of this but if her passport does not come through, would you be able to go yourself. I know that you do not want to and she doesn't want you to either but at least you will not lose all your money.

Over 4K for tickets is a lot of money to lose.

And as someone else said, she should call her congressman. She is a registered voter, right. There is always another election coming.

EDIT: One more thing. There is still 31 days. It could come next week or the following week. There is still time.

Posted by
5688 posts

She should go ahead and contact her congressperson. It won’t hurt.

In the meantime, check the contract of carriage on your tickets. While the tickets might not be refundable, there is a good chance that you can change the travel dates. Typically you pay any fare difference when you do this. Sometimes there is also a fee. Read the rules so you know what you would need to do in the worst case.

Once you are less than 14 days from your departure, you can make an appointment under the “Urgent travel Service”. The website states you can only make the appt. by calling them (but you need to be within 14 days of travel). Hopefully it won’t get to that.
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast/passport-agencies.html

Posted by
1 posts

Federal agencies are used to getting Congressional inquiries. It's completely normal so you don't need to worry about ticking someone off. It's routine business for them.

Posted by
960 posts

There is a process for "Urgent Travel" defined as being within 14 days of your travel date - or 5 days if "already applied" whatever that means. (if not resolved before that timeframe, here's hoping!!) https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports/get-fast.html

My understanding, I haven't used this process myself, is that, if within those timeframes, an appointment can be made at "a passport agency or processing center". Again, whatever/where ever that means. A lot of down to the wire stress and frustration involved!

You can perhaps find more info and clearer explanations of "urgent travel" if you research. Maybe understanding a possible time specific solution would help with the waiting and angst now.

As far as the distance and out of town trips, I can sympathize, but know no solutions. We had a relative visit from Cleveland a few years back visit us in Chicago as this was the closest processing center that had available appointments. It worked out in the end, but really????? (I had a typo that I caught in proof reading the above. Or perhaps a Freudian slip. I meant to type "processing", but "promessing" appeared instead. That seems all too apt.)

Contact the Congressman. My guess is that it won't help, but you will feel better and you never know! Best to both of you - I hope this works out!

Posted by
2765 posts

Actually, it will help if you contact your Congress person it won’t hurt you, and your elected official needs to know that their constituents aren’t happy. It’s their job.

Posted by
9436 posts

Laura, your post about “Urgent Travel Service” is really helpful. Good info for all of us, thank you

Posted by
2744 posts

My sister had this problem - even worse than yours - and she called her congressman. He was extremely helpful and she got her passport in the nick of time.

Posted by
467 posts

Even if you didn't book refundable flights, if you booked in a cabin that is not Basic Economy and you're on one of the big airlines, you should be able to cancel and get a flight credit. (I don't know what the cancellation policy is on airlines like Icelandair, Norse, etc.). Hopefully she is able to get her passport in time, but if not, hopefully you are able to get a flight credit and not be out the $$.

Posted by
3265 posts

Between passport application and trip date, you had almost 10 1/2 weeks. The expedited processing time is 7-9 weeks. You should have the passport in time, and if not, you have a week plus to deal with it. Strikes me that you can't panic before you know it is not arriving as indicated. Let them stay busy processing passports until you know they have failed. My SIL's family received their passports recently exactly on each one's schedule. I had been skeptical but it was exact.

Posted by
7031 posts

Are you allowed to resell your airline tickets on ebay?

No. You would have to get the airline's okay to do that and I don't know of any airline that would agree. Hopefully the OP got tickets that will be credited back to his account and can be used again later.

Posted by
3905 posts

If it helps, I mailed my expedited passport renewal on June 14 and received my passport somewhere around July 27 (paid for the expedited return mail service, too). You can check the status of a passport application online at https://passportstatus.state.gov/.

I'm also supportive of contacting your US representative.

Posted by
3265 posts

OP: What's the status of the passport? Has it been received?

Posted by
11496 posts

Jim,
Did you get the passport in time to make the trip?

Posted by
7031 posts

I remember that post - I think he didn't have any travel insurance either, which made it worse.

I feel bad for him but I would never travel without insurance, unless everything was cancellable and what wasn't was covered by my credit card. And even then, if you get sick like him then you could be stuck if you don't have some kind of medical evacuation insurance.