I have jumped on an opportunity to take a vacation on the sunny beaches of Australia (insert mixup of seasons joke here). I am leaving in three weeks, and staying for six. However, I have run into a problem: my American passport expires two weeks before I return (though after I leave).
Now, I could pay the extra $60 + shipping for expedited service and hopefully get it back before I leave, or go for the in-person service which is presumably even more complicated and expensive. However, since I also have an EU passport, and can use it while in Australia, I only need the American passport to return home in nine weeks.
1) Will leaving the country be a problem with a soon-to-expire American passport? I know they check your passport, but it is generally perfunctory, and only checks for validity, right? Can I leave with only the EU passport, if the American one is still in the mail?
2) If I return with an expired passport, what sort of trouble am I liable to encounter? This
says none, this
says $100 worth, although neither source is authoritative, and most other sources are vaguely gloomy at the prospect. I know that entering on a foreign passport, even with a valid visa, is considered Very Bad.
As I see it, I can either
I) delay renewing the passport and travel anyway, dealing with expired passport issues on my return, or
II) send in my passport for renewal, running the risk of not having it at all on my departure (although it could be mailed to me later, before my return). If leaving the country is not a problem, I would skip the expedited service and have it mailed to me in Australia, especially since it seems many people report fast turnarounds, and I might get it within three weeks anyway.
3) Any Melbournians for a meetup in may?