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Old Sep 22, 11, 9:27 am   #1
 
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US Passport Renewal at a Consulate or Embassy

I'm a US citizen that currently lives in Canada and need to have my passport renewed.

The information on the websites of the US State Department, the US Embassy in Ottawa, and the US Consulate in Calgary are, to say the least, conflicting and confusing.

One website says that US citizens residing in Canada can't submit their passport renewal application by mail, while another one does. One website says that passport renewal fees, if renewal is done by mail, can be paid by personal check, another website says personal checks are not accepted (query whether this prohibition also applies to checks drawn on a US bank account, but this never seems to be addressed). It is giving me a headache and, as one might expect, the Calgary Consulate doesn't answer their phone.

In any event, because I'm outside of the US and because I'm on a work visa, I'm a little hesitant to enclose my current passport with any renewal application by mail, even assuming that I am eligible to do so. That being said, it appears reasonably clear that I can apply for a passport renewal in person at the consulate office.

So I turn to OMNI....

For those who have renewed their US passport while outside of the US in person at a consulate or embassy, did the consulate/embassy take your currently valid passport away while your renewal passport application was being processed and the new passport was being issued (which is effectively the same result as if you were to submit your passport renewal application by mail)?

Or did they let you keep your current passport and just "revoke" it once your new passport came in (so as to allow you to still travel internationally and/or have proof of US citizenship in your host country while your passport renewal application was being processed)?

Thanks.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 4:55 am   #2
 
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I'm a U.S. citizen living in Denmark. When I need to renew my passport, I mail it with the proper forms and payment to the US Embassy in Copenhagen, so I'm without it for the time it takes to issue my new passport. However, my new passport is issued in lightening fast time, only a few days or perhaps a week max, IIRC.

I would time it so I was very unlikely to need the passport during the short time I was without it. I suppose if an emergency came up where I suddenly needed to travel, the embassy would have a solution for issuing an emergency passport. But it really was done amazingly fast.

I did receive the old, canceled passport back as well (just to keep as a souvenir, I guess), but I don't remember if it came separately from the new one, or with the new one.

Susan
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Old Sep 23, 11, 7:20 am   #3
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They will need the passport and will give it back with the renewed one.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 3:38 pm   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncertaintraveler View Post
I'm a US citizen that currently lives in Canada and need to have my passport renewed.
The Department of State website says that they can mail new passports to the USA and Canada. Thus, I think they should accept the renewal applications from Canada as well. However, you would be better of trying to do it through a consulate (if possible) because you will receive your passport much quicker than mailing it directly to passport centres in the USA. Here is the quote from http://travel.state.gov/passport/renew/renew_833.html:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dept of State
U.S. citizens residing abroad (except those living in Canada) should renew their passports at the nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate.

U.S. citizens residing in Canada may submit Form DS-82: Application for U.S. Passport by Mail to the address listed on the form.

Quote:
Or did they let you keep your current passport and just "revoke" it once your new passport came in (so as to allow you to still travel internationally and/or have proof of US citizenship in your host country while your passport renewal application was being processed)?
They take the passport, so you will be without one maximum for a week or so. The good thing about Canada is that they don't ask about citizenship at every corner, and you would be perfectly fine just with your driving licence.
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Old Sep 23, 11, 4:10 pm   #5
 
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You can renew by mail through the EMBASSY office at Ottawa.

You need to renew in person at all consular offices in major Canadian cities, eg: Calgary or Toronto.
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Old Sep 24, 11, 3:57 pm   #6
 
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Originally Posted by König View Post
The Department of State website says that they can mail new passports to the USA and Canada. Thus, I think they should accept the renewal applications from Canada as well. However, you would be better of trying to do it through a consulate (if possible) because you will receive your passport much quicker than mailing it directly to passport centres in the USA.
So presumably you would use the Form DS-82, even if you were renewing your passport in person at a consulate?

Maybe it is just me, but I don't find the State Department's information to be particularly clear on any matter that is even remotely non-typical.
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Old Sep 24, 11, 4:29 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uncertaintraveler View Post
So presumably you would use the Form DS-82, even if you were renewing your passport in person at a consulate?
Yes, that is correct.
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Old Sep 24, 11, 4:45 pm   #8
 
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I am a US Citizen living in the Cayman Islands. I renewed my passport last year through the consulate here.

I took the forms and my passport into the consulate. They took my information, but not my passport.

When my new passport arrived from Jamaica, they gave me a call and I went and picked up my new passport.

I was never without a valid passport
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Old Sep 24, 11, 5:07 pm   #9
 
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Originally Posted by König View Post
Yes, that is correct.
Thanks.

I looked at the US embassy in Ottawa website and there it is stated that passport renewal in person should only be done in three circumstances, none of which apply to me (emergency, under age of 16, or last passport was issued to you when you were under 16, I believe).

So it seems that the US government wants US citizens in Canada to renew by mail.

What is really perplexing, though, is the passport renewal form says not to send cash and allows for payment by personal check, whereas the Ottawa embassy website says to send cash to the renewal address (in Pennsylvania) and that personal checks aren't accepted. It is almost like one government entity isn't talking to another one. Surely the renewal people would accept a personal check in US dollars drawn in a US bank though, even if the renewal passport is to be sent to Canada.
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Old Sep 25, 11, 3:04 pm   #10
 
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Originally Posted by uncertaintraveler View Post
Thanks.

I looked at the US embassy in Ottawa website and there it is stated that passport renewal in person should only be done in three circumstances, none of which apply to me (emergency, under age of 16, or last passport was issued to you when you were under 16, I believe).

So it seems that the US government wants US citizens in Canada to renew by mail.

What is really perplexing, though, is the passport renewal form says not to send cash and allows for payment by personal check, whereas the Ottawa embassy website says to send cash to the renewal address (in Pennsylvania) and that personal checks aren't accepted. It is almost like one government entity isn't talking to another one. Surely the renewal people would accept a personal check in US dollars drawn in a US bank though, even if the renewal passport is to be sent to Canada.
Never EVER EVER send cash through the mail. It's just asking to disappear.

I would suspect the Ottawa website is inaccurate.
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Old Sep 25, 11, 5:10 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by mikemey View Post
Never EVER EVER send cash through the mail. It's just asking to disappear.
What he said.

Mail a cheque or money order instead.. Is there any way you can pay by credit card? I know on Canadian pp applications you can select to pay w/ a credit card right on the form.
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Old Sep 25, 11, 8:43 pm   #12
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Originally Posted by alexb133 View Post
What he said.

Mail a cheque or money order instead.. Is there any way you can pay by credit card? I know on Canadian pp applications you can select to pay w/ a credit card right on the form.
At some US consulates/embassies, it is possible to pay with a bank card if the applicant or an associated party is present in person to pay with a bank card.

There is no bank card field on US passport application/renewal forms to select the kind of option that is there for Canadian passport applications.
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Old Sep 26, 11, 4:53 am   #13
 
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
At some US consulates/embassies, it is possible to pay with a bank card if the applicant or an associated party is present in person to pay with a bank card.

There is no bank card field on US passport application/renewal forms to select the kind of option that is there for Canadian passport applications.
I renewed recently by mail via the Paris consulate, and was able to pay by credit card. There was an additional authorisation form I had to complete and sign.
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Old Oct 11, 11, 11:58 am   #14
 
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OP UPDATE:

I thought I'd post an update for those who might need to renew their US passport at the Calgary consulate.

Made an appointment for passport services on the consulate's website, filled out the DS-82 form, took it all with me (plus a copy, as the website says that I should do) and a self-addressed envelope to the consulate. Went through security (twice) and spent about an hour just sitting. US citizens seem to get preferred treatment in terms of getting priority to go through the lines, but no one seemed to be in any hurry to get anything done.

Was able to pay the passport fee using a credit card, and I submitted my passport with my application but after waiting about 45 minutes I got in back with 4 holes punched clear through it and was told that my new passport would arrive in around 2 weeks. So I still have my passport, but I can't really use it for traveling.

As an aside, although the consulate's directions in the website says to provide an original and a copy of the application (and two photos), when I asked if they wanted the copy or the second photo I was told "no" and asked why I had them. Apparently, the people who write the directions are the same people who write the US tax code....


ETA: For those who wonder about such things, my new passport was received exactly 1 week after I applied for it at the consulate.

Last edited by uncertaintraveler; Oct 19, 11 at 3:09 pm. Reason: Provided details regarding the time it took to receive the new passport.
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Old Oct 12, 11, 3:51 pm   #15
 
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Originally Posted by uncertaintraveler View Post
when I asked if they wanted the copy or the second photo I was told "no" and asked why I had them.
I think they changed the requirements for photos around the same time they changed passport forms ("gender neutral" DS-11), so now they require only one photo. However, many people do not know about it and still send two.

Embassy websites are not updated with correct information often, so the Department of State website is still the most accurate source.
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