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No passport & I leave in 12 days!

San Francisco, CA
7 posts
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No passport & I leave in 12 days!

A group of us have rented a villa in Costa Rica for a week, leaving the US on Sept 11 & returning on the 20th. My passport expired back in March, so in June I renewed it by mail after being assured by many friends & relatives that it is an easy, reliable way to go.

Everything was mailed with signature service, so I know it was received on July 3rd. The check was cashed on the 5th. Standard routine processing times are 4-6 weeks. So what's the issue?

It's been 9 weeks since they received my application. I leave in 12 days. And still no passport. Kinda starting to freak out here!!!

Naturally, the passport agents that I've called/emailed (daily for the last 2 weeks now) can't tell me anything other than it's "in process"-- no explanation for the delay, no advice as to what I should do, just that it's still being processed.

Here's what I submitted:

-old passport,

-application fee (standard processing),

-typed application,

-passport photo adhered as instructed, and

-notarized copy of my marriage license to document my name change (I believe I also mailed a copy of my driver's license and SS card, just to be sure).

What do I do?!? At this rate I don't feel like I can count on them to get my passport to me in time. I'm really starting to think I need to tell my husband & friends that I can't go, which makes me cry even having such a thought. I do have an appt with the emergency passport office on Sept. 6th (the last weekday I have off before my trip) which I will go to if necessary, hoping it will only take one day (I cannot take any more time off work). But then I wonder: will they charge me another $140?? Will I end up with 2 passports??

I'm really freaking out right now, any advice/suggestions would be very much appreciated!

Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
Level Contributor
7,994 posts
43 reviews
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1. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

I think the only thing you can do is ride it out. You still have 11 or so days it could show up so try to have faith. I would continue to put pressure on whoever is processing the passport, call every day, send emails, be frantic as far as they are concerned but at the same time try and relax.

Nothing I can think of that can speed the process but do try and relax. If you have to go to express passport office and explain the situation. Impossible to have 2 passports though, they frown upon that big time.

Santa Teresa, Costa...
Destination Expert
for Mal Pais, Santa Teresa
Level Contributor
1,773 posts
52 reviews
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2. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

Did you purchase some trip cancellation/interruption insurance....just in case....

I hope you get your passport....a friend of mine did the same thing about 4 years ago. His passport showed up 2 weeks after his scheduled departure....he wasn't able to cancel or change his flight, the reservation company said it was his fault...bummer.

I always deliver my application and ID and old passport to a passport office....I know I will receive my new passport in the mail within 2 weeks after that or I can pick it up at the office over a shorter time than that!

Level Contributor
3,091 posts
46 reviews
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3. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

Good luck, it doesn't take long usually , a friend renewed and it didn't take him that long.

Baltimore, Maryland
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3 posts
12 reviews
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4. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

You can contact the Department of State and they will expedite it if its caught up as long as you can show them proof of your trip.

San Francisco, CA
7 posts
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5. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

Thanks all. I was originally planning on going in to renew in person, but had so many people assure me that mail was "so much easier, and just as fast!" I won't even go into the devestation I feel when thinking my old passport was lost-- years of travel stamps & visas gone :(

@Incabod, you're very reassuring, and I appreciate it. Maintaining a level of calm while exuding panic is a fine line to walk!

@jose: I'm aware that it usually doesn't take this long-- even their website says 4-6 weeks for routine processing. Hence my borderline breakdown :$

@Wefish: No cancellation insurance was purchased, we booked our flight directly through United so worst-case scenario I'll just cancel my flight & get (some) credit for a future flight. Really, really hoping I don't need to do that though :(

@un4gettable: Thanks for the tip! I'm in California, I mailed my application to an address in PA, and was told it is at the processing center in New Hampshire. When you say contact the Dept of State, any idea who/which office I should specifically seek out?

Thanks again all, waiting is the worst but I refuse to cancel this trip!!!

Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
Level Contributor
6,392 posts
192 reviews
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6. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

The Department of State has a website that you can use to check the status of your passport. Just do a search, and it should come up. Hopefully that will give you more info.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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46,665 posts
35 reviews
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7. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

Hard to even try to answer your question...I hope you will get it ASASPO!


San Jose
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1,000 posts
24 reviews
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8. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

Did the passport arrive? Hope it did...

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
9,523 posts
23 reviews
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9. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

If you haven't gotten it yet check https:/…OPSS_Status_ip.asp for passport status. Good luck.

San Francisco, CA
7 posts
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10. Re: No passport & I leave in 12 days!

Nope, still nothing (the holiday weekend doesn't help matters).

@crfan, thanks, I've been checking that site several times a day for the past 4 weeks.

@volcanogirl: thanks!