The Bush Administration announced today it is suspending the new passport rules that went into effect earlier this year in order to allow the State Department to catch up on the glut of applications. Thousands of Americans, the Associated Press reports, have missed planned vacations because they didn’t receive their passports on time.
I almost knew the feeling. I was freaking out when I still hadn’t received my passport five days before I was planning to fly to Europe recently. I spent hours on hold nearly every day for two weeks trying to get some answers from the State Department. The only answer I ever got was, “wait two days, then call back.” I’m sure thousands of people across the country were going through the same thing.
continued…Luckily, I was in a position that most people not living on either coast might have envied: I live near a regional passport office, where I could go, wait all day, and emerge with a passport in my hands. Regional passport offices are located in Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington, D.C. and Aurora, Colorado. So since you have to show up in person, that means Colorado residents have a better chance of getting an emergency-issue passport than, say, people who live in Montana or Utah.
It still might take some time for the State Department to catch up, so if you’re still being told your overdue passport is “sitting in Charleston,” head over to the Aurora office (prepare to spend the day), and be glad you’re not a would-be traveler in Idaho.