While the US passport is desired by many in the world for a variety of reasons, renewing it is highly inefficient, expensive and takes a ridiculous amount of time.
The US passport ranks behind about 20 other countries now. This is based on how many countries one can travel to without visa or getting visa on arrival with a given passport.
It is desired by people from countries that have less opportunity and less mobility due to their passport. People from most Western countries are not so interested as they recognize that their Healthcare, social safety net and education are more accessible and less expensive. That is for another story.
My wife is from the Dominican Republic and she recently renewed her passport. The DR is infamous for the corruption and inefficiency of such processes. Remarkably, she was able to obtain a new passport in one day. She had to download her criminal background check, show her birth certificate and pay around 50 dollars for all aspects of the process. It is good for six years.
Compare that to the ridiculousness of renewing a US passport. My children’s passports are good for five years. However you can’t travel with less than six months remaining on the passport… And the renewal process can take three months… So they are actually only useful for 4.25 years.
To renew them it is 100 dollars per passport and must be paid via check or money order, which many people don’t have and is silly in this electronic age. The library (local passport agency) that prepares the application charges 35 dollars per passport and photos are 17.50 per person. So the total to renew is 152.50 dollars per passport and we are told it will take eight to 12 weeks.
So a “developing” country can do in one day what it takes the super power of the world 56 to 84 times as long and it costs three times as much in the USA.
Why do US citizens accept such a process and why isn’t it done better?
2 thoughts on “Renewing passports”
I can relate to everything that you said Jim, having lived through it although in a different country. Add in, if you think your US embassy is there to help you…..you are sorely mistaken. I was able to renew my US passport overseas a little quicker though. Only took a few days but then the hard work comes in that you now have to get all your visa’s and other visa stamps in your old passport updated to your new one. No small feat depending on the country you are in.
This renewal was in the states. Yes about the embassy