No, it's not here yet.

As I stated previously, the USCIS was very efficient. I can't say the same of the US Department of State. We had plenty of time when we applied for a renewal, so we decided not to pay expediting fees. It was supposed to be done in 4 weeks and within the second week, I tried to check the status online but it wasn't found. So I enquired via a web form and a day later they said they have it and it was being processed. I also signed up for email updates and then the online status started reporting it as being in process.

So 4 weeks pass and I decided to get in touch again. The lady asked me all the security questions, and then some. After I pretty much gave her the life history of my wife, the lady said that because of some privacy act, she couldn't give me any information. Not even the status of the passport! To this day, I still don't understand what that has to do with privacy, and secondly, why didn't she simply tell me that after hearing that I don't sound like Lori? Hmmm....

So Lori calls them during her break and they say that everything was on track and that we should receive the passport this Friday. They asked for her mobile phone number just in case. An hour later she gets a call that they need new pictures. That doesn't sound like everything was on track! Supposedly they mailed us a letter about this, which we never got, not even an email. So if you're getting a passport, don't bother registering your email. We still can't get a straight answer from them about what is wrong with the pictures (we're 99% sure they lost them and that would explain the lack of clarity). So anyway, yesterday Lori took another trip to Kinkos, overnighted the photos to them and had to pay the expediting fee to get the passport to us by Friday. It sure doesn't work that way in the private sector: you mess up, you pay buddy!

Here's a breakdown of the passport costs to date (I love bullets lol!):
  1. Passport application - $75.00
  2. Passport Photos #1  - $15.09
  3. Registered mailing    - $ 9.00
  4. Passport Photos #2  - $15.09
  5. Overnighting photos - $33.00
  6. Expediting fees        - $60.00
That's a total of $207.18 for a renewal passport. Getting the passport this Friday? Priceless!

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