Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Passport Renewal

Today I requested a new passport from the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava.  My passport was valid until mid-2018 but I only had two blank pages left.  That's even with the extra pages I added a few years ago.  Too much travel I guess.

U.S. Embassy in Bratislava ©Wikipedia
When you apply for a visa, most countries require a minimum of two blank pages.  As an American I can apply for a new passport in any U.S. embassy or consulate.  The closest is the one in Slovakia so I took the train there is morning to apply.

Passport applications are taken by appointment only and they can be made online.  Just take the application, a photo, and cash.  For an adult passport renewal the fee is $110 and you can pay in dollars or local currency.  I paid €105 for mine.

Expedited passport requests are not available to those applying overseas because the passport is printed in the USA.  However, all of the applications from embassies have priority so it only takes five to seven business days.

The photo is the one thing to watch out for.  In Euroland the photo is 35 mm X 45 mm but the USA requires that the photos be 2 X 2 inches (51 X 51 mm).  Apparently many people make the mistake of trying to submit the smaller photo and their application is rejected.  When I went for my photo I told the clerk that I needed the American size and it was no problem.

The application process only took about five minutes.  I spent more time than that just going through security.  They let me keep my current passport but I have to bring it with me in order to collect my new one.  I figure with the Christmas holidays it will take at least two weeks.

Security is strict at all embassies and they don't care for people taking photos outside.  That's why the photo of the Bratislava embassy came from Wikipedia.

Update:  I received an e-mail from the embassy that my new passport is ready.  It only took four days!  Wow!!  I have to go to the Bratislava office in January so I'll pick it up on my way to work then.

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