Location: Happily living in Frenaros Cyprus having escaped the near-death experience called Sofia Bulgaria
Programs: Etihad Guest Gold, DL FO and 1MM, and a bunch of others at a low level
My annoying passport renewal experience (in Nicosia Cyprus)
My US passport doesn't expire until April 2013, but I am renewing it early because I am applying for a 5-year residency permit here in Cyprus and the passport needs to be valid during the period of the permit. At the end of May, I drove up to the US embassy, which is a 1.5 hour drive from my house, 20-30 minutes of which is in horrendous Nicosia traffic. I submitted my passport renewal application and also ordered a passport card (for TSA purposes in the US) and paid my $140. I was told I would be notified by e-mail when the passport would be available for me to pick up. At that time they did not say anything about the card, so I (wrongly) assumed that it would be available with my renewed passport. I also requested the 52-page passport because my current passport was a 52-pager AND it had extra pages sewn it AND it was just about full (marked 52-pager on the renewal form and I specifically mentioned the 52-pager when I submitted the appllication).
After 11 working days, I was notified to pick up my passport. I drove to Nicosia to pick up my passport (and card) only to discover that the card would be issued separately (oh joy, another excursion to Nicosia) and that the passport they issued was the 26-page one. I brought this to the consulate staff's attention and their solution was to cancel this new passport, give me a 1-year temporary passport, and then reissue me a new one with 52 pages. That would not work because I could not wait another 2 weeks for the passport (I am traveling to Israel and I have an appointment with Cyprus immigration in the next 2 weeks). Applying for the 5-year permit is no simple task - I had to get an FBI criminal record check (had to be fingerprinted in the US for that) and I had to arrange for notarized copies of bank statements - so I have been collecting all these things and some of them required me to pay fees - and they are all time-sensitive. So I asked the consulate to just sew in the extra pages now because I do not want to have to pay $82 to add pages because THEY made a mistake. They would not do that because their system requires them to collect the $82 when adding the pages. I asked them to override that - they said they could not. So the solution they came up with was for me to take this passport (they had already canceled my old passport before I had a chance to check over the new one) and they would contact the people in the US and I will have an answer when I go back to pick up the card.
I don't have a good feeling about this - I expect to be screwed out of $82 to add extra pages because of the mistake that THEY made.
I am furious about this. I pay US taxes as an expat and all I ask for is an accurate passport renewal process once every 10 years and they can't even get that right!
__________________ Somebody has to do something, and its incredibly pathetic that it has to be us. Jerry Garcia
You will be screwed, and will have to fork out $82 - or more, I'm sure the price will go up - when you need more pages.
The 26-page inserts used to be free, and pretty much immediate, at least at Passport Offices and consulates/embassies. Now they're charging top dollar for effectively having someone take 30 seconds to laminate a 26-page booklet into a passport.
"March 3, 2012, a date that will live in infamy...."
"I was an over-entitled 1K. Now I'm an ambivalent Gold"
Programs: Loyalty? I go where the points and status are!
How long are you going to be in Israel? Certain representatives of the US Consul Services here are very flexible and easy enough to deal with.. The issue is the turn around time on the passports because they're all issued by DoS now and not locally.