Passport Panic!

on Friday, March 13, 2009

Before my trip to Panama, I had never ventured out of the United States and had never needed the use of a passport, so I had to apply to get one which was a very long and expensive process.

At this time, I was told that the agency that gives out and legalizes passports had been overwhelmed by the amount that had been applied for this summer and they were unsure of whether I would be able to get my passport in time.

As my date of departure came closer and closer, I was becoming continually more and more nervous that my passport was not going to get to me in time for my trip. I had visited the post office several times and they had no information available for me as to when it would arrive at my door.

Three days before my trip, my passport had still not made it to my house and, as friends and family can attest, I was a complete wreck! I was so nervous, my father and I decided that it would be best and the most reliable to travel to Chicago, Illinois and meet with the agency's office because they have a service where, if you wait long enough, you can get your passport in one day.

We left that night, woke up the following morning, and got in line at 4:30 a.m., and I was still the 23rd person in line. After another hour had passed, there was a line winding around the entire city block. At 8 o'clock, we were all told to enter the building and they would begin the process of verifying whether we were able to receive our passports.

We were shuffled into the line of people that had already applied for passports and waited in this new room for quite some time. I had to state nearly every bit of information about myself that I knew, handing over three forms of identification, two pieces of mail with my current address, along with my birth certificate.

Those working at the agency had us, along with the thousands of others who were hoping to receive their passports that day, were moved from room to room, line to line. By the time 6:30 p.m. rolled around, I was completely and utterly exhausted but people were beginning to be called into a different room and would walk out with that beautiful blue passport that I have been slaving to get for the past 14 hours. My name was then called around a half an hour later and I was able to drive home knowing that I would be able to fly to Panama in two days with no problems.

The day after I left for Panama, I was told upon my return, that my passport had landed on my front doorstep. So now, I sit at home and look at the two separate passports that I have and always think of that insanely stressful time in my life and how I spent an entire 16 hours of my life in hopes of ensuring my trip.


Has an issue said...

That must have been quite an ordeal! That sucks that you had to endure so much time and devote time that could have been used to plan for your trip as well as using your time to pack. As our right to travel freely to most places, the agencies that take care of these things should be equipped to handle the demand from the public for their passports. Its seems a bit limited that we must wait so long when trying to obtain a passport, and in some cases wait so long that it may influence your eligibility of a trip.

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