Passport Hell

Hmmm… I have never used a “bad” word on my blog before, but when you read this you will understand why I felt it appropriate to use the “H” word above.

I applied for a name change for my passport back in February while I was having my daughter’s passport renewed.  I figured, why not? I’m married.  I’m planning to stay married for the rest of my life, so why not update my name there? We are taking my daughter and a close friend of hers to Europe next week, so I figured we had plenty of time.  Right?

I sent the paperwork in for both at the same time…

In April my daughter’s new passport arrived. 

Mine did not.

My husband started to stress.  He considers himself a younger and handsomer Woody Allen, neurotic about all things travel related.  I told him to relax.  We still had two months to receive my passport.

Right?

Two weeks later I received a letter from the passport office telling me that I needed to send a certified copy of my marriage certificate to them.  The copy I had sent was not sufficient.  Well, it only took them two and a half months to tell me that but what can you do when you’re dealing with this kind of public office?

I rode my bike down to Worth Street and bought another copy of my certified marriage certificate.  I was told that I had to wait for another copy of a letter from there before I sent it back, and to include the letter with the marriage certificate.  I was told to send it in a trackable overnight envelope.  It was suggested that I expedite the passport application for an additional $72.72 to ensure that I would receive it in time for my July 5th travel date.

I did all of these things.

Every day my husband asked me if I had checked the mail yet.  If I hadn’t (which was usually the case), he ran out to the mailbox and checked it himself.  Every day the result was the same: no passport.

My husband was going crazy.  Every night before bed he would bring up the missing passport.  Our trip is non-refundable.  He was worried.  I wasn’t worried.  I’m not a worrier.

Thank goodness I married a worrier is all I can say.

Two weeks ago, when my passport still hadn’t arrived, I started calling the National Passport Center daily, sometimes two or three times.  I checked my status online.  The result was always the same: In Process.

“What does that mean?” I would ask the passport people on the phone? “Will my passport be here before we leave?”

“It could be,” I was told.

Could be? Oh no!

We are now one week away from our trip, with a weekend stretching out before us and Wednesday a national holiday.

Oh no!

I called an expeditor.  He called an expeditor.  “We can’t help you,” they told us.  Once your passport is in process in N.H. there’s nothing they can do.  I didn’t know that.  Did you?

I called the rush center in Manhattan to make an appointment.  The first available appointment was at 9:30 a.m. on July 9th.  Did I mention that our travel date is July 5th? (That was a rhetorical question.)

Oh no!

Thank goodness for my husband and his friend who happens to know Congressman Jerrold Nadler very well is all I can say.  Yesterday morning I biked over to their office and met with his assistant.  She spoke to someone very important at the National Passport Center and my passport was sent overnight yesterday.  It will be here today!

Can you believe this story? All I can say is… get a new passport now if you are planning to go anywhere that requires one.  Get it way ahead.  Read the directions very carefully and follow them to a fault.

I have to go and start packing now.  See ya.

 

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About mallorylayne

midlife mom seeking meaning for the rest of her life.
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One Response to Passport Hell

  1. What an awful, stressful story, Mallory! What’s unacceptable here is that the government only let you apply for your renewal 45 days in advance, then they promptly tell you to expect a 4-6 month delay! Horrid! Sigh of relief for both of us. 🙂 Enjoy your trip!

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