Thursday, 21 October 2010

POV: Passport Renewal

Here's a statement which could irk all the Libertarians and Tea-Party grumblers: I had an excellent experience with the US State Department's Passport renewal process! Yes, a government office!

I had to renew my soon-to-expire passport, and I decided to jump the gun a month or two earlier than necessary.

I wanted my old one back as it still has a number of valid visas....and as I suffer from acute separation anxiety if I don't have my passport within reach (no, I'm not making this up nor is it hyperbole),  I chose the expedited route to speed up the process, and downloaded/filled the necessary application, and included a note saying that I needed the old passport back.

As I also wanted  extra pages, I spoke to a State Department employee to clarify whether I needed to pay extra. She checked and responded affirmatively.  I enclosed the fees required, and sent it off by Priority mail.

A few days later, I get a call from the State Department informing me that I had overpaid. We resolved the snafu in a couple of minutes, and within a few days, the new passport arrived along with the old one.

Easy, simple and very efficient.

Of course, my passport photograph looks like a mug shot...but that's a different matter.