Anything I can do to make sure my passport arrives on time?

I finally applied for my passport, but I fear I waited to long since the process is supposedly so damn slow. The woman at the post office who processed it said it would arrive by December 10th. This is a long time, but I’m still nervous because I leave on a cruise to Mexico January 9th, giving me less than a month of wiggle room if its late.

I guess I’m kind of running on the assumption it will be late, because I don’t want to freak out if I don’t have it. So, if in the event the December 10th date comes and goes without my passport, what are my options? Any way I can either speed it up at that point, or somehow prove to customs that I had applied for a passport months ago and am still waiting for it to arrive?

That seems to be an extraordinarily long time to wait for passport preparation and processing, Incubus. Is there any kind of option for urgent processing offered?

There was, but expedited processing would cost somewhere in the area of 250.00. The idiot that I was, I didn’t know you had to pay by check/money order (I actually had to step out of line to get a money order, but the woman at the passport section of the post office was nice enough to let me jump back to the front to give it to her :slight_smile: )

I didn’t have enough in my checking acct to cover the fastest option. Any way to apply for it after the fact?

That seems absurd. I have gotten a new passport, with pages added, and a Chinese visa in just over a week. I did have to pay a service, but it only ran about $150 plus FedEx.

Mine came in exactly 8 weeks. I think it was within a day or two. So did my SO’s, who applied at the same time.

A pool of two doesn’t help you but as long as you had all your paperwork there should be no real reason for delay. And if you have your paperwork, you should be able to log onto the website and check the status. They give you some kind of code that enables you to check it.

My friend just got his in ten days. I think he paid extra, though.

If your passport hasn’t arrived by December 10, you can call the passport agency and pay to have it expedited and overnighted to you. This will take about 3 weeks, so it still doesn’t give you much wiggle room.

Alternatively, if you are traveling within two weeks and still haven’t received your passport, you can make an appointment at your closest passport agency. They will require proof of your departure date. Based on a co-worker’s recent experience, an appointment does not actually mean that they will see you at a specific time. Rather, it means that you have the right to stand in line with all of the other unlucky schmucks who still haven’t received their passport either until they get to you.

As a last resort, you can call your Congresscritter’s office and explain the situation. In the past, they have to get a passport for people within 48 hours. With the recent passport crunch, my guy’s office can no longer offer this service, but they can get you a letter guaranteeing you an appointment (ie, the chance to stand in line) at the nearest passport agency.

Good luck!

My roommate went on a trip to Mexico in Julyish and had gone and applied for a passport sometime in April, I think. She kept checking the status online, but it never changed. Her mom, who had gone with her to apply, received her passport in 8 weeks, all while my friend got no notice of anything.

Then it was a week before her trip and she still had no passport. She was flipping out, needless to say. She tried calling the passport phone number, but everytime she’d call it would say, “Sorry, we have too many calls. Please try back later,” and would hang up on her. Finally one time she got through and after waiting on hold for 2 hours and 26 minutes, the line cut out. She never once got to speak to a person.

So while she was freaking out, I got out the phone book. Pretending to be her, I called the office of US Senator Barbara Boxer, explaining the situation. They took down the info and promised they would look into it.

The next morning at 8 AM she called the Passport people again, finally getting through. They said it was out for delivery, as it had been overnighted to her. The person on the phone says, “A call from the office of a Senator tends to rush things on our end.”

So there you go. If you are still getting screwed as things go closer, call the politicians. That’s what they are there for.

I really have no clue what the expected wait time is at this point, but if you get to December 10th, you can write to your congressman and complain. His staff can then contact the State Department and tell them to put a hustle on it.

Last time I had my passport renewed a few years back, I got a helping hand in this manner and had the new one in about three days with no additional fee. (My prior passport had been damaged shortly before a trip I had planned.) Of course, three years ago there wasn’t the tremendous backlog in passport processing, so YMMV.

On preview I see the same advice, so there ya go.

Or you can just reach under the stall and signal your senator. They really are there for you.

The foot tapping thing is way too complicated for me. Democracy is hard. :frowning:

:dubious: Is that a pun?

Plus, you have to have one hell of a stance! Just think about it.

Well, just to worry the hell out of you, here are a
couple of horror stories. Congressmen and airline ticket agents can help in a pinch, apparently.

That is outrageous. I paid $125 TOTAL, including the regular passport fee. However, I was renewing it by mail (which I could do, because it was only a name change), that might have had something to do with it.

I got my passport within 2 weeks of mailing the application.

Honestly, if you were told to expect your passport on December 10th, that is probably a worst case and it doesn’t seem likely that there would be a problem where it would arrive a month late. But definitely if you don’t get it by two weeks before travel time, set up an appointment and they should take care of it for you.

Enjoy Mexico, by the way. I spent the summer there. Where will you be cruising?

FYI, the US passport system is currently screwed because of the change of policy that requires people to have passport to go to Mexico and Canada. It resulted in huge numbers of people applying for passports, and the system is overwhelmed.

I’ve been sort of keeping up with the issue, and from what I’ve heard, the only way in hell to get a passport on time is to call your congressperson and bitch. However, I’m guessing they won’t do much right now seeing as you’re not leaving until January. I’d wait until December 10th to bitch. In the meantime, keep on top of the passport office as much as you can.

How Long Will it Take to Process a Passport Application? direct from the manufacturer.

The Dept of State website is saying it’s $97 for the passport plus $60 for an expedite. I don’t know where you are getting $250. (I’m applying for mine tomorrow so I’ve been looking around).

Its freed up a lot in the past month or so - people are getting their passports within six weeks now. I wouldn’t worry about it. But the tip to call your senator’s office isn’t a bad one - just wait and give them a chance first.