Getting a passport will be another pain for summer travel

In May, 33-year-old Paula Knight was preparing for a family trip to Mallorca when she realized she, her husband and 11-year-old daughter ...


In May, 33-year-old Paula Knight was preparing for a family trip to Mallorca when she realized she, her husband and 11-year-old daughter would all need to renew their passports before traveling in early July. And her son, who is 8 months old, had none at all.

She first contacted a private passport shipper in her hometown of Austin, Texas, but after paying them over $500 in hopes of getting the passports within days, she was surprised to learn that They expected the process to take five to seven weeks, and she would have to deliver the documents herself to a passport office.

But all local passport offices require an appointment and have been full for months. The closest passport office that took walk-in appointments was two hours away, in Lampasas, Texas, and she went there twice to have her family’s documents processed and mailed. at the State Department.

A month later, she realized that she might not receive the materials in time. So Ms Knight began calling the National Passport Center Appointment Line every morning, where wait times can exceed 15 minutes, in the hope of getting a same-day appointment at a US Passport Agency. For a week she called, waited and each time was told that the only appointments available nationwide were in Hawaii.

“We have a government passport agency in Houston, which would be a two-hour drive for me. We have one in Dallas, which would be five hours away, and I could do it too,” she said. “But there is nothing available. I feel quite helpless in the face of all this. We’re doing everything we’ve been told to do, and it’s been taken since the beginning of May. »

Ms Knight finally got an appointment in El Paso, 11 hours away. She pushed her family’s trip back four days to accommodate the date and, choosing not to drive such a long distance with a baby, spent $800 on a hotel and $1,600 on airfare. for herself, her husband and her two children to get to the appointment. before leaving for Spain. In early July, with just a few days to spare, the family’s passports arrived in the mail and they ultimately didn’t need a same-day appointment. (They received credit for the canceled flight and a refund on the hotel room.)

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Newsrust - US Top News: Getting a passport will be another pain for summer travel
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