Photo from Wiki Commons

Photo from Wiki Commons

My family and I recently headed to Los Cabos, Mexico. Having been to Europe last summer, this trip was going to be a breeze. We didn’t need any adapters for our electronics – what else could we possibly need? How about a passport? We were leaving the country,  so we needed a passport.

No problem – we have left the country before. We had our passports, or so I thought. It turned out that while my husband and I had current, up to date passports, our children’s passports expired. An adult passport is good for 10 years, while a child’s passport is expires igood for only five years.

We weren’t leaving for four weeks, but just to be sure the passports arrived in time, we needed to pay the extra fee to expedite processing.That means calling for an appointment to apply in person.

The only appointment we could get with the post office was on a Tuesday. Since my husband wasn’t able to be there, he had to have a form notarized stating that he gave the children permission to travel.

When the Passport Doesn’t Arrive

passport2By expediting the passport, we expected to have the passports delivered to our house within two to three weeks.  Fast forward three weeks and my son’s passport arrived. I thought my daughter’s passport would arrive shortly after, so I waited. And waited and waited, until our trip was only six days away.

Needless to say, the panic set in and it was time to start researching where her passport could be.

I went online to the passport site and starting calling around to find out what I could do. The only answer I received was, “There seems to have been a problem. We sent you a letter.” I didn’t receive the letter until the Monday before we were leaving. The letter stated that my daughter’s forms were filled out incorrectly. I needed to fill out another  notarized form and re-submit it to the passport office.. The only problem was that it was Monday and we were leaving on Sunday. Even if I sent the forms back overnight, I would never get them returned from the Passport Agency to my house in time.

What to Do Next

The thing that really helped us was finding out where the passport was being processed.  The location of the processing office was included on the letter. I called the Passport Agency and a customer service person informed me if I sent a check for $14.95 with a note telling them to overnight the passport, I should be OK. Did you know this was even possible? I read every form and the website and this information was nowhere to be found.

If you need a passport in a hurry, try these steps:

1. Go to the U.S. Passport Application Status website to find out any important information you can about the status of your application.

2. Call The National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778

Automated passport information is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To speak to a customer service representative, call between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday, except federal holidays.