Thursday, December 13, 2007

My passport story

When we arrived in Taiwan last month, I almost didn't make it past immigration.

Before leaving for our trip, I knew my passport didn't expire until sometime in 2008, so I didn't think about it further (since U.S. passport holders can stay in Taiwan for up to thirty days without a visa). Patty had made it first through immigration and was waiting for me on the "other side". The immigration officer flipped though my passport and asked me if I had a visa. I replied that I didn't. He told me that he couldn't let me in the country and that I might have to return to the U.S. because my passport was expiring in less than six months. DOH! I didn't know about this rule. The officer told me to go to a visa office to try to apply for a visa. Luckily, I ended up getting a visa but it cost me 4300NT! (about $135 USD). Ouch...

Shortly after returning home, I completed my passport renewal application and mailed it on Monday, Dec. 10 (via regular first class mail). According to the State Department's website, the estimated processing was 4-6 weeks. This morning I wanted to see if it my passport had been received yet, so I checked the status via the State Department's website. I was surprised when I saw that my application had already been processed and had already been mailed out. When I went to check my mail today, it was in the mail! Very impressive - it has been less than two weeks!

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