My passport was to expire this month, and since I live in Canada now, I had to renew it by mail. Sending in the form was easy enough. But it all went downhill from there. I had to send my old passport with the form, so I was basically stuck in Canada without it. There are worse fates, but when possible, I prefer not to be stuck anywhere.
Here’s where things got fun. I checked the status of my new passport online, and it was processed and shipped within the allotted 6 weeks. I was told I would receive it by June 17. June 17 came and went with no passport. As did June 18, 19, 20, and so on, well into July.
I called the passport center and was told that they have no way of tracking passports mailed to Canada and that they couldn’t say for sure what happened to it. They had “no way of knowing” where in the world my passport was. Good. Great. Awesome.
I saved the passport center’s number into the contacts list on my phone so I could easily call them on a daily basis. But the fun part was, this wasn’t the office that actually processed my missing-in-the-mail passport. That office did not have a phone number and could only be contacted by mail. Yes, good old gets-there-in-7-to-10-days paper mail.
These calls went on well into August. I was eventually told to file for non-receipt of passport. (More snail mail.) Then once the form was received, I was contacted by the real issuing office! But they told me the policies had changed in the months since I sent in my old passport and they now required a photo copy of an ID to process the non-receipt form. Oh, good.
Long story short, they let me fax in a copy of my Canadian driver’s license. And just two days later I found my new passport on the doorstep. Yes, they sent it next day and let it sit there on the doorstep all afternoon. I could have had two lost passports out there. But I got it. It’s a fancy new hardback book with pictures of American history throughout. And most importantly, I’m free! The only problem is, somehow they’re holding me responsible for the still-lost-in-the-mail passport and I need to follow up on it. Stay tuned for updates…