If there’s even a remote chance that you’ll be going on a foreign mission in the next year or two, go ahead and get your passport application in now. There is a huge backlog of passports in the US passport system. At the beginning of April, we applied for a passport for our youngest son, but now, about 19 weeks later, it still hasn’t come – and that was after calling and getting it put on “expedited” status. Normally it takes six to eight weeks to get a passport, but due to changes in US law requiring a passport for re-entry from Mexico or Canada, the backlog has increased greatly. Many news stories have discussed how the backlog has increased to ten to twelve weeks, but I think it’s much worse than that.
A passport is good for ten years and is something that nearly everybody should have, just in case.
7 thoughts on “Mission in You Future? Get Your Passport Now – Don’t Wait Until You Get Your Call”
I got my passport before I was 18, and it won’t expire until I’m on my mission. I have no idea what this means or what I should do. Any advice? I leave for my mission this January (put my papers in in October, I’ll let you know when I get the call). My parents and I have been talking about this and we honestly haven’t a clue.
Call your U.S. Representative. A friend of mine had her honeymoon scheduled for Mexico. She waited months after paying for expedited service. One phone call to the U.S. Rep.’s office and the passport was in her hands within days.
The renewal process (see an article in the Washington Post) can be done by mail. It normally requires mailing in a form, your passport, two photos, the fee, etc., and waiting a couple months to get a new passport and your canceled one returned. Sounds like you should start that process immediately. Otherwise you could do it while on your mission if you can afford to be without a passport for a while – often a problem. Perhaps calling your Representative might help if you run into trouble.
Wait – if you were under 16 when you got your passport, you can’t renew by mail. See the State Department’s page on passport renewal. In this case, you need to apply in person. There is usually a local post office or other facility where you can do this – see the State Dept. page on locations for applying in person.
Don’t wait – get started now.
Dan, I was in the same situation when I went on my mission. I renewed before I left, a full year before it expired. I didn’t want to have to renew it in a foreign country. (Which you can do at any US Consulate office).
I would also suggest, getting the expidited passport to begin with. It will cost you more, but you will have it in about a week.
Also, if you do serve in a foregin country, make sure you register your passport with the US Consulate as soon as you can after arriving. Most major cities have a Consulate office. If you need to get a replacement in the field it will save you lots of time. If you cannot register your passport, you should at least have a photocopy on file with your mission president.
I echo what Mr. Hall said. If you have sent in your application and need the passport soon, call your Senator or Represntative. They, in turn, can send a request to one of the National Passport Centers whose staff (and volunteer staff) will make sure the application is expidited. The powers that be are very aware of the backlog and have taken steps to alleviate it.
Also, it’s actually quicker to get your passport renewed overseas at the Consulate or Embassy than it is to renew in the US. It takes an average of 3 weeks overseas as opposed to 3 months domestically. Just visit the friendly American Citizen Services section and they will help you out.