Apr 10, 2008

It Costs WHAT to Get a Passport These Days???

I lost my old passport and I'm traveling to Israel at the end of May. Crap. A new one, with expedited service, costs $179. Serves me right for losing my old one that wouldn't have expired until 2010. Oh well, this one will just last me until I'm 30 or something, so I can hopefully use it on a honeymoon!

So today I did all the things I thought I had to do to get a new passport. Printed out the forms and filled them out. I was ready for a quick (albeit painfully pricey) trip through the passport line at the local post office. But things can never be that simple in my life.

First off...

Went to Long's Drugs to get my passport photo taken. Stood at the photo counter for 5 minutes before a sales clerk noticed me. She called for a customer service rep to come to the counter. 6 minutes later and no rep had arrived. She paged the customer service rep again. 4 more minutes later, a customer service rep comes to the counter and I ask "can you do my passport photo?" I find out the one person who knows how to do passport photos there has gone to lunch. Buger.

Left Long's and went to Walgreens, which luckily is a few blocks away. Got my passport photo taken fairly quickly there. Was told it would take 10 minutes to print. So I started to wander around the store. The lady who told me that came and found me and let me know that someone else was printing a huge order so it would take more like 25 minutes.

25 minutes later I return and get my passport photos. Pay $8 for them, and I'm off to the post office, which is another 15 minute drive away.

Get to the post office and of course there are a few people in line. I wait, somewhat impatiently, but minimizing my impatience because I know I have every single item I need to get that passport as soon as I arrive at the front of the line, right? Right??

Well...

First of all, it turns out I didn't have the lost passport form filled out. Or maybe I did but I must have lost the lost passport form. (hah). So I stepped aside and filled that out. Then waited a little longer.

Finally, it was my turn again. I handed the woman the various items she needed to see or take to get me signed up for this new $179 passport.

She took one look at my birth "certificate" and informed me that it's not a certificate at all. It's a birth registration or something like that.

What?

It was the same stupid piece of paper I used last time I got a passport.

So she told me that I had to call up New Jersey, my home state, and request that they send me a new birth record so I could apply for a passport.

WHAT?

I'm traveling abroad on May 27. I already have my ticket. WHAT???

It should be ok. I went home, and called the NJ agency. They had an online site where I had to pay $38 for the new birth certificate and rush delivery of it. I still have to fax them a copy of my driver's license before they can send me anything.

I also called up the federal passport agency hotline and was told that it's wise to include another $17 check in my passport application to pay for rush delivery of the passport once they process it.

So all-in-all my lost passport is costing me about $200 to replace.

It's my fault for losing it and waiting until the relative last minute, but still, I'm a little p-o'd about all this. Especially after finding out that I owed $1243 on my tax return this year.



7 comments:

calgirlfinance said...

If it makes you feel any better, my husband and I somehow underpaid on our taxes by about $6,000 last year! I knew we were underpaying, but I didn't realize it was going to be that much!!!

J said...

If it makes you feel any better, I have no less than three different copies of my birth certificate that look completely different. I had to get the second copy from the City of New Brunswick (where I was born) when I had to apply for my visa to Prague because it had to list my parents' names, which weren't on my original (which I used to apply for my current passport (and my license, etc)). It looks completely different from both that copy and the certificate my mom ordered from Trenton a few years ago when she ordered extra copies for the whole family before the price for copies went up. Luckily, I haven't lost my passport (yet) and still have about 3 years left on it. Although, it does have a slight fraying on the picture page and I'm hoping that won't be a big deal when I go to Peru in, um, a week. Yea. Oops?

Rachel @ Master Your Card said...

It always amazes me how much it costs for a small booklet! I haven't got one at the moment as my old one expired and I cannot justify the cost of a new one - its not like my husband will be whisking me off for a romantic holiday in Paris when the children haven't got passports either!

nklsmom said...

Glad I read this post. I want to go to Ireland in a year or two and had no idea it was so pricey - or involved - to get a passport!! Good luck..
ps.. I'm a Jersey Girl as well!

Fabulously Broke said...

HEAR HEAR... passports are the devil

a drain on time and money

Shelly said...

the passport photos phase could be easier and faster achieved by using http://www.ePassportPhoto.com - free online service

Anonymous said...

ePassportPhoto.com rocks!

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