I’m getting close to heading to a life-list backpacking trip to Glacier National Park. One of the things the crew decided to do was go up into Waterton, Canada, for a day.
My passport expired more than 10 years ago, so I would have to get it renewed. A quick perusal of the Department of State website told me I was right on the edge of being able to get the passport in time for the trip. I was frankly dreading the process. I downloaded the application, filled it out, and used the website to find out that post offices were able to accept the applications. I also noted that a FedEx Kinkos near work would take the photos. I called the post office to find out if I needed to go anywhere in particular, and was told no, just the main line. I mentioned I would head that way after I got my photo, and the guy said come on down, they take them right there in the post office.
So I headed downtown, fully expecting a hellish experience.
I walked in, and walked out 15 minutes later, done. Hellish, not so much. The post office people looked at the departure date on the application, and suggested overnighting the app to the State Department, and overnighting it back. It added about $40 to the cost. They took the photo (with a handheld camera), printed two copies of the photo, checked my ID and birth certificate, packaged it all up and off it went. The only weird thing, the State Department only wants a money order for their fee, but the post office people printed a money order right there using my debit card (why not a credit card, who knows?).
I did this on a Friday, 26 August, and it was accepted by the DoS in New York on Saturday.
So a week passed, and we took a trip over Labor Day weekend to Arkansas. We got in late Saturday, and checked the mail, and there was the passport, one week and one day turnaround.
So that’s pretty darn efficient. I am surprised and pleased by how well both the Post Office and DoS handled this.
Now, I’m just waiting for being off to Montana, then Canada.