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  1. #1
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    Default AP Article on Passport Delays in US

    Official takes blame for passport mess
    7/22/2007, 7:36 a.m. EDT
    By MICHAEL J. SNIFFEN
    The Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The current passport mess is rare among government foul-ups: A top federal official has publicly taken the blame and expressed regret.

    "Over the past several months, many travelers who applied for a passport did not receive their document in time for their planned travel. I deeply regret that," says Assistant Secretary of State Maura Harty, who is in charge of passports for U.S. citizens. "I accept complete responsibility for this."

    In an effort to thwart terrorists, the government implemented new rules on Jan. 23 requiring more Americans to have passports. By summer, more than 2 million Americans were waiting for passports; half a million had waited more than three months since applying for the travel identification that historically has been ready in six weeks.

    The massive backlog has destroyed summer vacations, ruined wedding and honeymoon plans, disrupted business meetings and educational trips. Individuals have lost days of work waiting in lines or thousands of dollars in nonrefundable travel and lodging deposits. And Congress has been overwhelmed as constituent pleas for passport help soared from dozens a year to hundreds a month in many offices.
    The culprits have variously been identified as inept planning, under funded preparations, popular misunderstanding of poorly crafted government advertising, unanticipated effects of public debate over immigration, tardy and ill-considered responses to the developing crisis, and even partly on Hurricane Katrina, which damaged the New Orleans processing office.
    Some in Congress wonder if the effort hasn't actually harmed security. Others question whether more passports actually contribute much to security at all.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SKY View Post
    ...

    In an effort to thwart terrorists, the government implemented new rules on Jan. 23 requiring more Americans to have passports. By summer, more than 2 million Americans were waiting for passports; half a million had waited more than three months since applying for the travel identification that historically has been ready in six weeks.

    The massive backlog has destroyed summer vacations, ruined wedding and honeymoon plans, disrupted business meetings and educational trips. Individuals have lost days of work waiting in lines or thousands of dollars in nonrefundable travel and lodging deposits. ...
    When this change came up I could not believe the US had indeed waited so long to have it's citizen bear a passport in order to travel abroad/re-enter their country. Have you ever looked at a birth certificate? It's a non-ID, period. I would not want to have to guess how many shady individuals used that loop hole to enter the US illegally.

    But, while some are waiting for their passport... we just had visits from my sister in law from Miami. 72 hrs before boarding to POP, she realized her son's passport had expired and as his had been issued when he was a baby, he needed a new one! Miami passport office told her to "foogitaboutit" and I told her to search on the Internet. She found a bunch of law offices who by now specialize in getting your passport almost immediately. They got her son's within 24 hrs, for a fee obviously. It saved her vacation here, but if you ever thought things have a strange way here in the DR...

    ... J-D.

  3. #3
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    Passports? Aren't those things obsolete and démodé? When are we all going to be implanted with an RFID tag? The technology is already here, ...even the mindset. The Bible mentions it (Book of Revelation 19:20) Can you imagine? no more hassles going through airports, or standing in long cues? I can't wait! I'll take the 'mark of the beast' over a passport, anytime!


    The New York Times

  4. #4
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    I applied for my son's passport yesterday - we were told that even if there is delay in processing - a person can still go to the Caribbean and some other places with the processing number given by the State Department. So, no need to pay legal fees for faster processing to go to the DR.

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    This is what I was taling about in previous post: Travel Accommodation Announced June 8, 2007

  6. #6
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    New U.S. Passport Rules Postponed for at Least Six Months

    By Spencer S. Hsu and William Branigin
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Thursday, June 21, 2007; Page A11


    The Bush administration yesterday postponed for at least six months a new security rule that Americans show a passport when crossing U.S. borders by land or by sea, requiring instead that citizens present an identity card and proof of citizenship upon entry for the first time beginning Jan. 31.
    Under the change, travelers returning from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean would no longer be able to make a verbal declaration of U.S. citizenship, but would have to present a government-issued photo identification, such as a driver's license or certain "trusted traveler" cards, and a birth certificate.

    Children under 16 years of age could present certified copies of birth certificates.
    The Homeland Security and State Departments said they expect to require passports or similar documents no sooner than summer 2008.

    here

  7. #7
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    As far as the D.R. is concerned...?
    This has been the off season. And appears that business is down for the whole Caribbean... and other travel as well.

    My American daughter and son-in-law wanted to come down this summer with our new granddaughter..... we are still waiting for the "official" entry number and form to be issued for the kid... born in California with American parents... three months has produced .... nothing. Not even the temp. papers.

    If you think it is bad now..... just keep an eye on the "high season" (winter) when all the "snow birds" want to come south. (Sorry, but Americans have a problem looking more then a short time ahead...((not bashing)) I would bet that the passport office has only seen the "tip of the iceberg".

    Regards, Ringo

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alyonka View Post
    I applied for my son's passport yesterday - we were told that even if there is delay in processing - a person can still go to the Caribbean and some other places with the processing number given by the State Department. So, no need to pay legal fees for faster processing to go to the DR.
    For the extended period you need a NEW birth certificate and a form showing that you applied for the new passport. At the present time, however, even only applying for a passport can be a thing almost impossible within a useful time frame. At the Miami passport office you need to have a an appointment to apply for your passport! You have to call in and schedule the appointment with an automated system. We tried for 48 hours... calling and calling around the clock... the system is so overloaded you don't even get thru.
    Other regional offices may be less overloaded thou.

    ... J-D

  9. #9
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    Talking

    I just got back from DR a few hours ago and travelled with a copy of my birth certificate because my passport never arrived. I also downloaded a document from the State Department which says that my passport is being processed. On arriving at AILA, I presented my birth certificate to the immigration officer. He looked it over, but did not know what to do with it. So, he sent me over to a small office where his supervisor was. I told her the situation and she told me, "Tell him to just stamp it on the back and get it over with!" I went back to the officer, he stamped the birth certificate and I was on my way. That was 10 days ago. Today, the same thing happened again, but this time to get out of the country. They have no idea of what they are doing!

  10. #10
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    Where I live in VA one can apply without an appointment at almost any USPS office. There lines of course are long and it does take a while. But most get the processing done within the time frame indicated. I also heard that some people who apply for regular (not expedited) processing get their passport within 8 weeks. Although in most cases it takes 3-4 months or longer.

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