You, the intrepid traveler, insider to all things travel and keen to the newest travel trends, were already smart enough to turn in your application before July 13, 2010, thus beating the clock on the recently implemented $35 increase in processing fees for renewing your passport. Huh, missed the news on that fee hike? What’s that? It was the fault of the travel bloggers who you follow daily to warn you about these things, and they, like Jimmy Carter and “Lost” after season 3, utterly and completely failed you?
It is true, but unlike the famous peanut farmer and J.J. Abrams, I take full and complete responsibility for this one, and wish to make amends by at least giving you some helpful information about that most infuriating aspect of international travel that is the passport.
Turns out a lot of people did know about the rate hike, including many first-time passport applicants (new passports now cost $135; it’s $110 to renew), and they, like a Shamrock Shake enthusiast, rushed out to take advantage of this quickly closing window. This, in turn, has caused a massive backup in the not-that-speedy-in-the-first-place processing office of the State Department. In response, they recently issued a warning stating that you can forget about getting your passport in 30 days, and the turnaround time to receive your document will now be a full six weeks, no exceptions, unless, of course, you pay extra.
And don’t think this doesn’t effect other travelers as well. Need to add extra pages or make a change to your passport? Then you’re going to have to get in line with everyone else too. So plan ahead, get your forms filled out and mailed, and please, whatever you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Better late than never.
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