Help us get a passport so we can go to Mexico
September 21, 2013 10:28 AM   Subscribe

My husband was born in the US and moved back to Canada as a baby with his Canadian parents. Apparently he received a proof of citizenship card when he was a teen but now it is lost. I understand that he will need this to apply for a Canadian passport. His sister is getting married in January in Mexico, where he will be in the wedding party. We have applied for the replacement citizenship card already about a month ago but have gotten no confirmation so far, and I just read on the website that it will take 6 months. This is not enough time to get it and the passport before mid January. Now we are panicked. Is there anything else we can do? Can he apply for an American passport instead in order to travel to Mexico? He has dual citizenship since he has an American birth certificate. Thanks
posted by photoexplorer to Law & Government (13 answers total)
 
Getting a US passport will almost certainly take less than 6 months- I think it generally takes just a few weeks, barring any complications. It would definitely be a good backup option if you're panicked about making it to the wedding.
posted by MadamM at 10:33 AM on September 21, 2013


He most likely would be able to get into Mexico on a US passport, but may not be able to get back into Canada.
posted by Jeanne at 10:41 AM on September 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


travel.state.gov

First and foremost, visit that link and start clicking relevant links. Read carefully.

Regular processing for a US passport is four to six weeks, so there's plenty of time to get one before mid January. All he has to do is show up at a Passport Acceptance Facility with his proof of US Citizenship (original or certified copy birth certificate), valid photo ID, a recent photo, the application (DS-11) and payment.

He'll probably have to go across the border to apply, and you can check Acceptance Facility locations online at the State Dept website. But also, here's a link to the page about applying for a US passport outside of the US.
posted by carsonb at 10:43 AM on September 21, 2013


Best answer: When I was under a similar situation the kind people at passport Canada told me to write "urgent" in red on the envelope for the citizenship card with a letter describing the situation and asking for a letter confirming that it was being processed, and I could use that to apply for a passport. They said they couldn't guarantee anything, but this often worked. I received the letter within a few weeks, but when I went to passport Canada with it they told me the cit card was already in the mail and I might as well wait for it. I managed to get both my passport and cit card within two months, if I had paid the extra 100$ I could have had the passport weeks faster.

I don't know if you can rush the cit card now that it's already being processed, but phone passport Canada or go in person and explain the situation. I found everyone to be surprisingly helpful, especially considering how horrid the people at the DMV were...
posted by Dynex at 10:44 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here are the US passport requirements. Took me about 4 weeks to get mine when I did it in 2009.

He'll have to do it in person. And assuming he has a certified copy of his birth certificate I imagine the hardest part will be that he doesn't have anything that qualifies as primary identification. He'll need as much secondary identification as possible. Might help if he knows a current US citizen with valid US identification who can swear to be a witness as to his identity.
posted by sbutler at 10:44 AM on September 21, 2013


You'll need some kind of proof of Canadian citizenship to re-enter the country. (If the Border Services folks think that you're an American trying to live in Canada without the right status, things could get difficult.) I confess that I haven't been following what Border Services requires for people entering the country by air; it's conceivable that you could get away with a US passport and some other proof of Canadian citizenship.

If you were in the States, I'd encourage you to talk to your congressman or senator about this. Maybe it would be worth contacting your MP?
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:46 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Getting a Passport outside of the US is usually only geared towards people who are traveling already and lost their Passports. It is also a wholly different procedure than applying within the US. I encourage you to have your friend try to apply within the US. From the page I linked above :
Applying for a U.S. passport while outside the United States is a different process from applying for a U.S. passport while inside the United States. Although the application forms, supporting documentation, fees and finished products are the same everywhere, each U.S. embassy and consulate has different procedures for submitting and processing your final documents. Listed below is information you should know when applying for a U.S. passport while outside the United States.

Be careful with sbutler's links if you decide to have him apply in Canada for a US passport. Most of those instructions will not be applicable (literally).
posted by carsonb at 10:47 AM on September 21, 2013


JohnnyAssay is right. You should go to your MP's office and explain your situation. They are often able to expedite the passport process. Even if you don't get to see your MP him/herself, their admin assistant will take your info and pass it along to the MP. I know several people who have done this successfully, even though our local MPs aren't the most competent. But they can and do expedite passports!

You have a few months still so you're in good shape. The people I know had literally a few weeks to go and their passport documentation was stalled. And yes, one involved complications with US documents--just to reassure you theirs wasn't straightforward either.

So go as soon as you can to your MP's office.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:06 AM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Ok thanks, we will try to get a hold of someone at the citizenship office on monday. Thanks for the help!
posted by photoexplorer at 4:51 PM on September 21, 2013


A possible obstacle: if the US government gets "shut down" this fall due to congressional (in)action, one of the things that will stop or be seriously delayed is passport application processing. You might want to keep an eye out on the political situation since it might affect your ability to get a US passport in the usual time frame.
posted by 1367 at 9:07 AM on September 22, 2013


Response by poster: I don't think a US passport will help us if he can't get back to Canada with it, and also if he has to apply in the US he can't get there to apply either. Lets hope we can expedite the citizen card.
posted by photoexplorer at 9:59 PM on September 22, 2013


Response by poster: Just an update so anyone searching for their similar situation will know what to do:
We FINALLY got a letter back from the citizen office saying that they have received his application for a replacement citizenship card. (It took a few months for them to even acknowledge that we sent anything in to them.) He was able to talk to someone helpful finally and they told him to just go ahead and apply for the passport and include a copy of their letter stating that he would have the citizen proof soon. They are going to rush the application and he should have both passport and citizenship card before the end of the year, maybe sooner. Yay! Thanks everyone for the help!
posted by photoexplorer at 1:35 PM on October 4, 2013


Glad to hear that things are working out! I would keep the "contact your MP" option in your back pocket in case you still need it, but it seems like you can rest easier now.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:06 AM on October 7, 2013


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