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Thread: Passport - renew early.. or pay though the nose

  1. #1
    A bozo on the bus deilenberger's Avatar
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    Passport - renew early.. or pay though the nose

    So I didn't bug SWMBO enough to get my passport out of the safe-deposit box.. and I finally got off my duff and got it out myself, about 10 days before a planned Canada trip and found it expired - last month.

    ZOWIE! That was a costly mistake. The basic government fee for renewing a passport quickly is $170. That's bad. Worse is having to use a passport service to do it for you. Turns out that the only quick way to renew a passport is to visit a passport center. Those are located in major cities that have a "Federal Building". No more going down to the post office.. And to go to the passport center you must make an appointment. I called all the major ones within 400 miles of me - and the soonest any could offer an appointment was a week after the trip was going to be over. That wasn't a working solution.

    So - I went to a passport service. These services are authorized by the government to process passports for people, and somehow they have access to getting it done quickly. For a bit under $250, I should have my new passport next Tuesday. Company seems very efficient, got excellent writeups in lots of major travel and business publications, but - it appears their cost model is based on a business paying for an employee to get an expedited passport, and for the average Joe Schmo that is a lot of money.

    Lesson is - plan to start the renewal process at least 2 months before you need the passport. It will save you a bunch of money that could better be spent on the trip.
    Don Eilenberger http://www.eilenberger.net
    Spring Lk Heights NJ NJ Shore BMW Riders New Sweden BMW Riders
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  2. #2
    OldBMWMaster JDOCKERY132445's Avatar
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    Don't forget

    This is all HER fault. It is hard to get good secretarial help these days. I bet Rosemary Woods would have been on it in a timely fashion.
    Jerry Dockery
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  3. #3
    Bikes, Guitars, and ... beemokat's Avatar
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    I know good advice when I see it..

    Though I don't have any international travel coming up in the foreseeable future, I'll take a look at my passport today...
    Wherever you go, there you are.

  4. #4
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    they don't actually take very long-seems like it was maybe ~ 2 weeks last time for us

  5. #5
    RK Ryder
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    I have read somewhere, that it is a good policy to renew a passport within 5 or 6 months before expiration as some countries will not let someone in if their passport is soon to expire. Maybe it's harder to track them and persuade them to leave.

    Enjoy your trip to Canada!
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
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  6. #6
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Don Eilenberger, thank you for a very timely reminder!

    I believe US passports are good for 10 years, Canadian ones only for 5. Just dug out my Canadian passport - it expires this December. Must renew it soon.

    Some BC residents (not sure about other provinces) get a special Driver's License which works fine for travel to the US without a passport. Not sure if the same thing is available to US residents who wish to travel to Canada, but don't wish to travel to other countries.

    Impossible to predict how quickly government bureacracies respond, so your advice to renew a passport early is, I believe, VERY GOOD ADVICE no matter what country you call home.

    I can't imagine that a renewal would not take effect when your previous passport expired, so you might have to carry two passports if you left your home country some days before the expiry date of your old passport and returned on your new passport.

    If there is anyone
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  7. #7
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRIDER View Post
    Don Eilenberger, thank you for a very timely reminder!

    I believe US passports are good for 10 years, Canadian ones only for 5. Just dug out my Canadian passport - it expires this December. Must renew it soon.

    Some BC residents (not sure about other provinces) get a special Driver's License which works fine for travel to the US without a passport. Not sure if the same thing is available to US residents who wish to travel to Canada, but don't wish to travel to other countries.

    Impossible to predict how quickly government bureacracies respond, so your advice to renew a passport early is, I believe, VERY GOOD ADVICE no matter what country you call home.

    I can't imagine that a renewal would not take effect when your previous passport expired, so you might have to carry two passports if you left your home country some days before the expiry date of your old passport and returned on your new passport.

    If there is anyone
    I renewed early and lost 6 months on my old one. The new one starts when issued, not when the old one expires, at least in the US.
    Ride Well, Ride Often, Ride to

    Charter Member "High Town" crew.

  8. #8
    Registered User REBGEN's Avatar
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    I just received my new passport in four weeks. I'm traveling to Israel next week and my old passport expired in DEC 12. Customs would have admitted me with a soon to expire passport but I was told some airlines have the option of denying boarding. Didn't want to find out the hard way.

    Unfortunately this trip is on four wheels.
    98 R1200C Canyon Red

  9. #9
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIBUD View Post
    I renewed early and lost 6 months on my old one. The new one starts when issued, not when the old one expires, at least in the US.
    Same policy in Canada. When you take your old one in for verification and replacement, they snipe a corner off, making it invalid. You must use the new one.

    Unfortunately this same policy works with my out of country health insurance. Can't leave with one and return with the other; new immediately supersedes the old.
    Paul
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Treasurer of the Forest City Motorrad Club #159
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  10. #10
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    Same policy in Canada. When you take your old one in for verification and replacement, they snipe a corner off, making it invalid. You must use the new one.

    Unfortunately this same policy works with my out of country health insurance. Can't leave with one and return with the other; new immediately supersedes the old.
    Well, Bud and Paul, how could I have been so naive? Why in the world would either country's bureaucracy not force you to renew early or face the possibility of a trip cancellation? It makes perfect sense in terms of revenue generation.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRIDER View Post
    I can't imagine that a renewal would not take effect when your previous passport expired, so you might have to carry two passports if you left your home country some days before the expiry date of your old passport and returned on your new passport.

    nope- will only allow you to own a single passport (or driver license, or...) at a time. must surrender oold one to get the new one. old one gets returned, but cut or hole-punched to invalidate it.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  12. #12
    Dum vivimus vivamus ted's Avatar
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    In some circumstances you can have two vaild US passports, if you travel frequently on international business for the US Government you will be issued a dark red "OFFICIAL" US Passport in addition to the blue one you carry when not on official business. You can only have one valid blue one though, and if you lose yours and replace it, then find and try to use the old one, well, plan on spending some extra time at customs

    Next time you are in a pinch like that call your Congressman, his or her office will help expedite the process quite a bit.
    Ted
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  13. #13
    rsbeemer 22600's Avatar
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    Texas must be different

    I just renewed my two youngest girls passports. I could have done it at the post office or as I did at the County Clerks office. Town of about 30,000, no appointment, just went in there and filled out some papers, gave them old passports, copies of birth certificates and they were sent back to us in the mail in about two weeks. They were not expedited, just the regular time frame. But you are right about the price; it has gone up a lot. I could have paid more to get them quicker, but was in no hurry. Seems like it should be the same everywhere. Maybe they make it simpler for Texans because we are kinda slow.....
    Talking that is.

    DW
    1978 R100rs MOA#22600 125cc Kymco
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  14. #14
    Caribbean Druid dwestly's Avatar
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    You not only have to deal with passport issues and renewals, but depending upon where you travel, there may also be visa requirements. This is where passport/visa expediters really come in handy, as your passport may have to go to the embassy or nearest consulate of the country you are traveling to, in order to have a visa placed in the passport. While many countries with a lot of U.S. citizens visiting as tourists don't require visas, others do require a visa. Ted is right about multiple passports, IF you work for the U.S. government and travel on official business. I worked on special projects for the State Dept for several years and had not only my blue passport, but two red passports in my name. I was traveling so often that I while I was using one red passport, the other was in the system acquiring visas for my next trip(s).
    MSF RiderCoach, Sport Bike Coach, Track Junkie, IBA, MSTA, AMA, HRCA, Factor Demo Rider
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  15. #15
    Left Coast Rider
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRIDER View Post
    Some BC residents (not sure about other provinces) get a special Driver's License which works fine for travel to the US without a passport. Not sure if the same thing is available to US residents who wish to travel to Canada, but don't wish to travel to other countries.
    To clarify...that's an EDL - Enhanced Drivers Licence. Only valid for crossing the border via foot or vehicle. One needs a passport if one plans to fly either to or from the US.

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