It all started on a lovely Friday evening, we had that euphoric bliss plastered on our faces that can only come to one about to leave on a kid free vacation. My husband and I were heading out on an 11 day European trip. We rolled into the airport with our bags in hand, straight up to the ticket agent with smiling faces, until she looked at my husbands passport and said “your passport is expired, you’re not going to Europe today”. I’m going to shoot straight with you here, my imediate thoughts were “I’m going to kill him… I’m going to kill him, make a bonfire, and dance on his ashes”. Worry not, it was a fleeting thought. My next thought was “maybe he’s not going to Europe, but I am!” By this time, the ticket agent could see the looks of shock and dismay on our faces, and while she looked at us like we were two of the biggest morons she’d ever laid eyes on, she’d obviously seen plenty of our moronic type before. She looked at us and said “what you need to do is rebook your flights, go to the passport office on Monday morning, wait in line, and you can get a same day passport”. And then I cried…
Reminder, we have 5 kids that we had pawned off on people, and an 18 year old with a seizure dissorder whose trip we had coordinated with, so we could be in Europe at the same time. The sheer amount of planning for this trip was overwhelming.
Now, a quick call to the emergency number for the Department of State on Saturday assured me that there were no appointments available for 3 weeks, that the office did take walk-ins, but there was no guaruntee, and all we could do was hope there was an opening or a no show appointment. Now, the Dallas passport office opens at 8am. We arrived at 7, and were the second people in line. Within the next hour the line would fill down the hall and around the corner with people who’s stories were just like ours…other moron’s…our people…our friends.
There were people with lost passports, expired passports, a lady trying to get to her mom’s wedding in Cancun, a girl trying to get to her brothers funeral in El Salvador. One guy drove in from Austin and slept in his truck, and one guy was all the way to board his flight before the desk agent told him his passport expired in 2 months and would not be admitted clearance into Europe with a passport expiring so soon.
Here’s the deal, the website says appointments only, even in line, they told us, those without appointments may not be seen today. By the time we left at 8:30 we were told to come back at 1:30 to pick up our passport, and all 30 or so people in line with us were in que to be seen.
We arrived back at 1:30, and basically still waited till the very end of the day at 3 o’clock when the office closed to get our passport. But we did get it.
A few tips:
1. Get there early!
2. Have everything ready. Passport application, picture (they don’t take them there), proof of citizenship, and cash money order or credit card.
3. You MUST have proof of travel within the next 3 days printed and in hand to be seen as a walk in. A missed flight will not count.
4. Everything can be rebooked, rescheduled, and re organized…but it’s gonna cost you. $800, and about 7 hours for us.
5. Don’t let this happen again!!! Know when your passport expires, and stay on top of your renewal!
Happy travels 😉