Renewing a passport

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I read with interest the letter titled “Missed Cruise Due to Visa Snafu” (June ’07, pg. 32), about passengers not having enough blank pages left in their passports for stamping.

When I made my last visit to Tibet, in 2005, it was no longer possible to send a passport directly to the Chinese Embassy service in San Francisco. When I went to a visa service in Seattle, I was told that my passport was “no good” as it didn’t have two “real pages” left for Immigration to stamp.

I assumed that she meant that though the last page has a number on each side, it is not considered “two pages.” Luckily, I had enough time to send my passport in and have the additional pages added before my trip.

I did some research and what she said was true. Some Immigration departments may accept the “real last two pages” (the two sides of one sheet), but others will not. Anyone who travels knows that these people can and do have control over what they consider the rules. Why take the chance?

Also, I just renewed my passport. I sent it in in mid-April. After two months I went online (you can check where it’s at in the system) and got a reply that processing was taking two months, but at least I knew it was being processed. I got it back the middle of July.

It’s interesting to note that they also had a webpage where you could request your expedited-service fee back if they were not meeting the time line (Aug. ’07, pg. 23), and you could also get a temporary passport in case you needed one and hadn’t gotten yours back yet.

When applying for a new passport, you can request additional pages. I wrote a cover letter asking for this and they didn’t do it, so now I will have to send it back in at some later date. Any traveler who needs to “refresh” their passport should give ample time for the processing. And if I were including a cover letter, I would write the “extra pages” note in bold print and highlight it to make sure it was done right.

JOYCE LEWIS

Camano Island, WA

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I read with interest the letter titled “Missed Cruise Due to Visa Snafu” (June ’07, pg. 32), about passengers not having enough blank pages left in their passports for stamping.

When I made my last visit to Tibet, in 2005, it was no longer possible to send a passport directly to the Chinese Embassy service in San Francisco. When I went to a visa service in Seattle, I was told that my passport was “no good” as it didn’t have two “real pages” left for Immigration to stamp.

I assumed that she meant that though the last page has a number on each side, it is not considered “two pages.” Luckily, I had enough time to send my passport in and have the additional pages added before my trip.

I did some research and what she said was true. Some Immigration departments may accept the “real last two pages” (the two sides of one sheet), but others will not. Anyone who travels knows that these people can and do have control over what they consider the rules. Why take the chance?

Also, I just renewed my passport. I sent it in in mid-April. After two months I went online (you can check where it’s at in the system) and got a reply that processing was taking two months, but at least I knew it was being processed. I got it back the middle of July.

It’s interesting to note that they also had a webpage where you could request your expedited-service fee back if they were not meeting the time line (Aug. ’07, pg. 23), and you could also get a temporary passport in case you needed one and hadn’t gotten yours back yet.

When applying for a new passport, you can request additional pages. I wrote a cover letter asking for this and they didn’t do it, so now I will have to send it back in at some later date. Any traveler who needs to “refresh” their passport should give ample time for the processing. And if I were including a cover letter, I would write the “extra pages” note in bold print and highlight it to make sure it was done right.

JOYCE LEWIS

Camano Island, WA