Passport Renewal Delay

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Dec 12, 2014
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#1
Good morning,
My Girlfriend and I planned a vacation to the Dominican Republic for 23 Feb 2019 - 02 Mar 2019. She pulled out her passport in January and realized that it had expired. She submitted a renewal application on 21 Jan 2019. The passport agency cashed her check on 28 Jan 2019. I had suggested at the time that she submit an expedited request, but the person at the post office said it was not needed (Don't get me started on this one.......)

It is now 12 Feb 2019 and still no sign of her new passport. She sent an email to the passport agency and she received a canned reply. She called the agency and they tell her that it is still "in process" and that she could pay an extra $60 for expedited service. But there was still no promise that she will get it in time.

I'm the type that does this stuff months in advance so I have zero experience with last minute passport renewals. We live in NJ, so we can visit either the Philadelphia or NY passport agencies if needed. I just need some advice on what I should do next. Sit and wait? Make an appointment at the agency? Pay the $60 expedite fee?

We still have 10 days before the trip, but now she is getting nervous. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Ron
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#2
Did she pay to expedite it? That is a must when renewing so late.

You can actually go online and find out the current status but you might have to actually go to the closest passport office to try and get it straightened out with your itinerary showing you are leaving.

Try and track it here:

https://www.tripsavvy.com/checking-passport-application-status-3150653
 
Likes: RGoltsch
Apr 10, 2017
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#4
My husband just got his renewed. He mailed it out on 1/11 and got the new one on 2/9. He didn't pay to have it expedited as there was no time crunch. While it's possible she could get it in time she would be cutting it way too close. At this point I would go to the office in person since you live in the area and your trip departs in less than 2 weeks.
 
Jun 30, 2017
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#5
Given that there is a backlog of passport applications due to the recent government shutdown you should make an appointment ASAP at one of the offices and get the renewal there. If you wait you will likely not receive it in time. There is another federal holiday on Feb 18 (and that assumes that the government does not shut down again this week) plus US Mail delays. You have only 7 working days left until you depart.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Jan 7, 2015
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#6
There is a chance you might get it on time without expediting but there's also a chance you might not. As others have said see if you can visit the office, and be prepared to expedite. A $60 fee that you may not have needed to pay is much less than what it would cost to rearrange your trip.
 
Likes: RGoltsch

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#8
@RGoltsch Simple question.... If she doesn't get her passport and you can't go, would the $60 have been worth it to you for the increased chance? Seems to be cheap insurance.

On Friday, she might call either passport agency and see if she can get an appointment. They may not take her at this point since its in the system..

FYI - Travel.state.gov is showing non-expedited passport renewal is currently running 4 - 6 weeks (ie based on your timeline she probably won't get it). Expedited 2-3
 
Likes: ADM
Jan 6, 2015
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#9
In addition to what has already been suggested, I will offer a tip that we follow: because many countries will will not allow entry with a passport that expires in 3-6 months, we set a calendar appointment to pop up 9 months ahead of the passport expiration date. that way we should have enough time to avoid any problems. you can, of course, shorten the lead time if you are certain you will not be booking any international trips inside that 6 month window . .
 
Likes: ADM
May 16, 2018
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#10
Hi.....I had a terrible experience just like this that had my son with no passport up until the day before travel. It was the same situation, except with more time. We had 4 months and were told that we did not need to expedite. It's true that sometimes they turn it around quickly, but not always. And when they don't, they do not care if your flight is tomorrow and if you left 4 months lead time. You are always sneered at for not expediting.

The reason I now ALWAYS expedite is because paying to expedite is the only way to have any right to track, complain, or get customer service of any kind. If you don't expedite, they simply do not keep track, which is why you are getting canned responses. So first, pay to expedite right now. Then you can track it and if it's still late, you have some recourse, a case number, a way to find out what's happening, and a way to get an appointment to do it live if necessary.
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
I would expedite the passport now. After the shutdown there must be a backlog. I went to the post office over the weekend and there were 30 people in the passport acceptance line.

I have done the less than 2 week renewal in NYC. They do ask for the most recent passport so that complicates things as it has been mailed off for a renewal.
 
Likes: Nancy
Dec 27, 2018
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#12
Given that there is a backlog of passport applications due to the recent government shutdown you should make an appointment ASAP at one of the offices and get the renewal there. If you wait you will likely not receive it in time. There is another federal holiday on Feb 18 (and that assumes that the government does not shut down again this week) plus US Mail delays. You have only 7 working days left until you depart.
Ironically, the State Department's passport operations continued during the shutdown. So there should not really be a backlog.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#13
Another thing to consider. Contact your congress representative. They have liaisons that can help advocate for you. While I may or may not agree with my congress representatives views, this is one of their "jobs" and they were very helpful when we had an issue with the IRS a few years ago. Call your congress representative's office and write them. Someone should get back to you promptly and may help track down your passport.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
Another thing to consider. Contact your congress representative. They have liaisons that can help advocate for you. While I may or may not agree with my congress representatives views, this is one of their "jobs" and they were very helpful when we had an issue with the IRS a few years ago. Call your congress representative's office and write them. Someone should get back to you promptly and may help track down your passport.
Honestly given the timing I would advise paying for the expedited first. Bottom line is that the normal processing time would not be enough given the dates and it would be hard to say that the passport office was being negligent.

Why should a non expedited passport be put in front of an expedited one?
 
Likes: jsmithw
Oct 11, 2018
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#15
I'd first see if you can expedite the renewal. If that doesn't work you can get an in-person appointment at an office if you're leaving within a few days and have proof of travel. I don't know what happens if the renewal is already in progress, so you really do have to call and speak to someone.
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#16
If they still allow you to, pay for the expedited service. I, too, live in NJ and needed my passport renewed fast. I paid for expedited service and express delivery, for the passport book and passport card. I mailed it off 2/1. It was received by the Passport Office on 2/5. I received notification it was done on 2/8 and USPS confirmed it will arrive today 2/12.
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,653
14,197
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www.promalvacations.com
#17
The application has already been sent in along with the documentation that she is going to need to get the passport.

At this point the best thing to do is go online and find out where the processing is at. If it looks like it’s stuck, turn go to a local office.

Try to make an appointment first but be aware that if they say they are booked up, you can just go and walk in. They will take you.

The issue now is the old passport and all documents are already in the passport office that cashed the check.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#18
Honestly given the timing I would advise paying for the expedited first. Bottom line is that the normal processing time would not be enough given the dates and it would be hard to say that the passport office was being negligent.

Why should a non expedited passport be put in front of an expedited one?
It shouldn't, but how is the OP going to get expedited processing when the documents have already been sent in?
 
Dec 12, 2014
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#19
@RGoltsch Simple question.... If she doesn't get her passport and you can't go, would the $60 have been worth it to you for the increased chance? Seems to be cheap insurance.

On Friday, she might call either passport agency and see if she can get an appointment. They may not take her at this point since its in the system..

FYI - Travel.state.gov is showing non-expedited passport renewal is currently running 4 - 6 weeks (ie based on your timeline she probably won't get it). Expedited 2-3
JohnBaker: Simple Answer........She asked if she needed expedited service, she was told no. She is not an experienced traveler so she actually believed a government employee at their word.