Thursday, August 9, 2012

Passport Delays...

So, I had to change my name on my passport for our recent trip. I had been tracking the estimated passport processing times online and it was averaging 4-6 weeks.I thought I'd be okay when I sent my application in about 8 weeks in advance of our scheduled trip. I could have sent it in earlier, but I was pushing to send all of our extra cash in towards debt payments and didn't want to take the $110 out of the budget until we were closer to the cutoff date.

I searched long and hard for a picture that I felt I looked good in. Ladies, you understand what I mean, right? I found a picture of me from when I was down a few pounds and looking rather pretty, so I sent it in.

What I hadn't planned on was having my picture sent back to me because it wasn't the right quality for the passport. Aghghgh! After doing some research online, I discovered that an actual photo from a regular camera is preferred rather than a digital one that is printed out.

I ended up having to go to Walmart to get an official passport picture taken, this cost about another $10. I'm pretty laid back and carefree about my appearance normally, but on my passport picture day, I spent about 2 hours in the bathroom preparing my hair and makeup! You'd think I was getting ready to go onstage for the Miss America pageant! I wanted it perfect. This picture has the potential to be looked at for 10 years, so I wanted to look good.

This was a whole "thing", where for the first time ever, my husband referred to me as a "Diva!" This led us into a discussion where I explained that there are at least 3 days in a woman's life on which they want to take the time to look really pretty for a picture-

1) Driver's License
2) Wedding Day
3) Passport 

The days may vary based on the person, but those are my top three. Hence the 2 hours in the bathroom preparing for my big moment.

Well, I sent the new picture in with expedited service and tracking through the post office... another $10ish. They received it within a few days. I kept checking the status online but unfortunately it wasn't changing. It still said "In Process." About two weeks before my trip, I called to check on the status and they told me that it was still "in process" and to call back in another week if I don't receive it before then.

The following week I called and was told that it's still "in process." I asked what my options were to get the passport quickly and was told that for $72.72, I could expedite it - although they couldn't guarantee that I would have it before my trip. Since I was already sweating and having horrible visions of missing our trip, I decided to pay the fee. It ended up being $60 for the expedited service fee and $12.72 to overnight the passport. They told me that I would know it was processed when I saw the fee hit my credit card. The fee hit the next day! I could finally relax a little.

The passport arrived on Monday morning, 3 days before I was scheduled to leave on my trip. So, if you need to get your passport renewed or updated, I would recommend sending your application in wayyy ahead of time so you don't have to pay anything extra! Oh, and send a nice clear photo of yourself looking your best to avoid that delay too :o)

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