US passport needed in NYC, short notice
March 2, 2015 9:12 PM   Subscribe

I have an international trip planned (and paid for) from March 13-16. I do not have a passport. I've scheduled an appointment with the NY passport agency but their earliest available appointment is March 12th, the day before departure.

I've seen related questions but of course there are some special circumstances.

The last time I applied for a passport (2012-ish) it was delayed. I applied with a temporary driver's license and some type of sworn statement by my mother that I was in fact who I was claiming to be. The State Department eventually got back to me and said I needed to produce all kinds of documents (photcopy of yearbook photos with year *and* photo visible, newspaper articles, etc.) that I didn't have. I didn't follow through with documents I didn't have and the application was left unfinished. I now have a NY state ID with my current address so maybe that goes smoothly? I also have a certified birth certificate and random flotsam and jetsam like old yearbooks and 3 college degrees.

In 1993 I was issued a passport that was lost. I have no idea what the number was and have no documents related to this so I can't fill out the application form completely (wants previous passport number).. Finally, my mother's maiden name is misspelled on both certified copies of my birth certificate.

I'm 38 years old and am as American as you get. Born and raised on Ohio and spent 36 years there before moving to NYC. I'm terrified that the trip I planned with my GF will not be possible.

Is there any way to move up the passport agency appointment? Can I wait at the NY agency all day for a cancellation? Are there any alternatives to getting a passport quickly? Given the circumstances, an expediting agency seems very risky since all they'll do is turn in my app at an agency with a shorter line without me being there to offer up answers to any questions that may come up. Am I screwed? I need hope!
posted by doowod to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Best answer: When you arrive at the passport office, there are two lines. One for those with appointments, the other for those without. Arrive an hour before the office opens - there will likely be people waiting on Hudson Street already. Bring all the correct documents - including birth certificate, passport photos, and a check to make out when you are there. You will be seen the same day and may have your passport issued the same day as well.

FWIW, in December I had an appointment to get an expedited passport and those that arrived without appointments were seen as quickly as I. Go tomorrow, if you can. Good luck!
posted by stachemaster at 9:20 PM on March 2, 2015 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Call your congresscritter's constituent services number. Explain the complications in your passport history. Might not get you anywhere, but no harm in trying.
posted by holgate at 9:20 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

My experience with the passport office in SF is that they say they don't take walk ins but they do. So follow stachmaster's advice. I walked in and out of the SF passport office with a new passport on the same day all without an appointment.
posted by bitdamaged at 9:42 PM on March 2, 2015

Just be sure to bring a print out of the ticket receipt in addition to the required docs. There may be an expedite fee.
posted by sammyo at 9:49 PM on March 2, 2015

Best answer: You just wait longer if you don't have an appointment. Everyone with an appointment goes ahead of you. Plan to spend most of the day there. Also, you can't bring food or talk on your phone. Bring everything you think you may need, including childhood flotsam (old report cards, scrapbook material like old news clippings, immunization records, etc). Bring a check for payment. Bring proof of your international plane ticket with fewer than 14 days until departure. If you're really nervous, either bring or have on-call a current Passport holder who is willing to sign and swear that you are who you say you are. I've done this and received same day or next day passports without issue. When all else fails, contact your Congressional representative's office. They can be immensely helpful and can cut through red tape you're entangled in.
posted by quince at 10:04 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you live in NYC you don't need an appointment. You can just walk in tomorrow. (Yes, I know the website says you NEED an appointment. Trust me on this- you don't. They just say that to avoid getting too many people in a single day). When you go in the building (it's around hudson street area) you will be greeted by two uniformed guards. They will ask you if you are traveling soon and have proof of this travel. If you say yes you may proceed. One of them will ask you to put your bags and coat on the x ray machine. You will then walk through a metal detector and be directed to stand in line. There will be two lines- one for those who have appointments and another line for those who do not have appointments. (Believe it or not, very often the line of those without appointments goes faster. At least that's how it was when I went. The line with appointments had 20 people in it and my line had only 2. YMMV).

When you get to the window the person there will review your documents to make sure you have everything you need. This includes 2 passport photos, your application, proof of travel within the next 2 weeks, photo ID, Birth certificate... (please double check this as it's been a few months and I don't remember exactly, but I think you need your application to be notarized as well.)

Once the person confirms you have everything they will direct you upstairs. There you will wait for your number to be called. You go to another window where all your documents will be perused. You will then be told to come back in a couple of hours. When you come back, your passport will be ready for you that day.

You do have to pay an expedited fee for all of this. Which I believe comes out to about $300 total.
posted by manderin at 10:52 PM on March 2, 2015 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you all for your help. I'll try the no appointment route at the Hudson St. agency. I've also booked an appointment at the Boston office on Friday as backup; hopefully I won't need it! Thank you again everybody.
posted by doowod at 4:29 AM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Conference in Miami in November: where do I even...   |   Freelance US Software Developer Working in Europe? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.