Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Passport in Nine Days

Shout out to the U.S Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs Passport Services.

From East Amherst, New York, to Washington D.C. and back to East Amherst in 9 days. I applied for my passport book and card (I live near the Canadian border, crossing which now requires either an enhanced New York State driver's license or a passport -- the card works for border crossings by land or sea) on July 13th and received my computer chip embedded electronic passport book on July 22nd:
The chip securely stores the same data visually displayed on the photo page of the passport, and additionally includes a digital photograph. The inclusion of the digital photograph enables biometric comparison, through the use of facial recognition technology, at international borders.
Did not know that. Of course, I paid the $60 extra plus overnight delivery costs for expedited processing of my application, but 9 days exceeds the "about 2-3 weeks door-to-door" estimate I was given at the East Amherst Post Office when I applied. Nice.

Need to apply for a U.S. passport? Use this search page to find the designated passport application facilities nearest to you. Most now take the passport photo right on site.  Just make sure that you have a certified birth certificate to submit with your application:
A certified birth certificate has a registrar's raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar's signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office, which must be within 1 year of your birth. 
My wife's passport application was rejected because her birth certificate isn't certified.  She applied online for a certified certificate from Pennsylvania, her birth state, using VitalChek and her certificate arrived yesterday.  Problem.  Her middle name is misspelled. Sorry hon.  Guess you get to stay home and feed the dogs. 


Zuppa said...

Thanks for the info. Fishing trip I hope.

I'll be cruising up to Halifax in September. I will use the links.

Maureen said...

Actually most U.S. Passports for the east coast are processed in New York City or Boston with copies of the completed info then being fowarded on to Washington.

If you already have a vaild U.S. Passport "book", the fee for a passport card is $20 and it is good for 10 years after date of issue; but the expiration date is different than the expiration date on the book. The card is the size of a credit card and comes in a protective sleeve to prevent accidental "reading" of your information.

The card is also only vaild for land and sea travel in North America, Bermuda & the Carribean. For example if you fly into Canada from the U.S. you will still need your "book" style passport, but If you are strictly road tripping the card is fine alone.

If you are cruising for example out of the U.S. port say Baltimore and into Halifax Nova Scotia the "card" will be perfectly acceptable. However, you might want to bring the "book" along in the event of an emergency and you need to fly home out of Canada.

Happy traveling...