August 20, 2007

passport "services"

so i got married last june. i just sent off for my passport to be updated with my new name a few weeks ago. so i'm slow - sue me. i triple checked that i had everything i needed in the packet when i sent it away certified mail, and i got a confirmation postcard that they received my request and that it would take 4 to 6 weeks to process it. great! hooray! beautiful!! (of course you know a big "but" is coming or i wouldn't be posting about it.)

BUT, last week i got a letter from them saying that they had received my request, and they needed my help to complete my request by sending them a certified copy of my marriage certificate. well, that's nice and all, but i sent the dadgum original. what more do you want people???

so i tried calling them and almost fell asleep listening to the recorded man's voice. there were, like, 15 options, and each option took about 5 minutes to explain. *sigh* i gave up and hung up. then chris tried and hung up much quicker than i did. i said "what happened?" and he said "i got tired of listening to him"...hah! but thanks to a brilliant friend who figured out if we didn't press anything for any reason when calling, that it would send us directly to a human, i got to talk to them. all the girl would say to me was "it says here that they need a certified copy of your marriage certificate" and all i could say was "but i sent the original". it was like a tennis match. and it finally came out that she "doesn't work for the agency..." she just works for the help line. WHAT? the people working for an agency's help line "don't work for the agency"? are you kidding me??? after SEVERAL minutes of talking and trying desperately to not sound rude or angry saying "i don't know what else i can do since you have the original", she finally said that she could put in a request for the agency to call me, but she said "there's no guarantee that they will call me". great.

so i called again today. just for fun. and because i really don't want this to get buried. and i know there's a rush and a high demand for passports recently, but they need to hire more people to get their job done in an acceptable manner. so anyway, i did what nathan did before and just didn't press anything and it went straight to a human (beautiful!) and i got the same answers. this time i all but demanded to speak to someone at the agency, to which i got the response "that's impossible. they do not have a phone number." right, lady. right. so then i asked to speak to a supervisor, to which i received the response "yes, but they won't know any more than me." great. that's encouraging. after holding for about 5 minutes, a supervisor finally got on the phone, and she said the agency isn't accepting phone calls (that's a little more accurate than "the agency doesn't have a phone number") even from them (which just seems wrong!) and she kept saying that "the agency won't accept photo-copies" to which i would respond every time with "but it's the original" and a few minutes later she said "it must have an embossed seal" to which i responded "well, it does". i really feel like i'm arguing with a brick wall. or a teenager. it's fascinating, really. so she assumed the tone of voice as if to reflect "oh, here's the answer. okay good, we're getting off the phone soon" and said "i'll put in a request for the agency to contact you about this" to which i responded "well, they already did that and i haven't heard from them". the lady said it's probably because i don't have a set travel date - they're trying to get everyone squared away that has a set travel date. well then i guess i'll never get squared away until we plan to go to italy. (hmm....) and i will say that i have never been more tempted to bold-faced lie. "oh yes, my travel date is october 20" - which it actually is. we're going on a road trip then..."oh, you meant international travel date?" *sigh*

so i guess i just have to wait around, and until then, we have no proof on paper that we're married. it feels weird, really. and i would send in another copy of my marriage certificate, but i'm too stubborn. it's the principle of the matter! i sent the frickin' original people! if that won't do, i guess i can never go overseas, because it's all the little chattanooga courthouse can give me. the sweet lady on the phone told me so.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

precious lyndsay,
i hope that you can find a way to get another copy... or two: one for "the agency" and two, for you and chris.
this passport thing right now is a big deal, a big scary deal for those who want to leave the country. lots of changes going on here. LOTS. as you can tell, you with thousands of others are trying to do the same thing. however, you ARE SMART for doing it ahead of time. even if you get a date, and pay some extra fee for what is usually a 1 to 2 week process, they are saying it will be at least 8 weeks.
i strongly suggest you get another copy of you all's certificate for craziness like this.
i am just glad to see your joy and laughter in all of this! remember, GOD is IN CHARGE, not the agency! Seriously, lets pray about this. i have heard some crazy stories about this kind of stuff and miracles happening so people could get what they needed before going/returning! yep, i'ld say this one needs to go to the Supervisor of all supervisors!!! :)
jay are

p.s. next time i see you in overalls and a straw hat, i will smile so big! :)

2:38 PM  
Blogger Jeni said...

I have been married for almost 2 years and still have not been bale to bring myself to deal with the insurmountable issue of getting my passport name changed. I have traveled internationally 2 times since getting married - I think I am afraid that while my passport is being processed I will miss out on some great opportunity. Seeing your struggles, I am inspired to continue putting it off

1:25 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Bummer about the passport. Ditto on the "well... you're not going anywhere right now." And "hmm..." maybe I should get MINE changed! Where did you get the list/address/ etc/etc? (sigh).

5:20 PM  

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