I like to document my trips abroad mainly because what else would I do with all this free time?
I am currently sitting here alone at CMH awaiting the 24 hr journey. I really hate flying alone.
This trip will definitely be memorable, but probably more in a negative way.
Today is June 4th, 2019. I should already be in Taiwan with my 2 little penguins and their Nainai. We had originally planned to go together May 30th. MommyMD was to keep watch with Combo back home. Well that didn’t go as planned.
2 days prior to departure, Combo passed away (more on that later, it’s too hard to write about that now.
Suffice it to say this was fairly distracting, while packing, but in reality has no bearing in the next debacle. Our flight was slated to leave at 11am. I was nearly done packing and without sleep, I figured I’d check the passports out at 2am.
Juju and Vivi’s checked out as expected. I came to mine and noticed something seemed off. Expired 12/18. Hmmm… That was 6 months ago. Well crap. Panic mode sets. After maybe 5 minutes of paralysis and rereading the passport. Maybe I misread it the first 5 times… Nope. Confirmed. I am an idiot. I am not sure how I booked this flight without reviewing my passport.
So here’s another thing I never knew. For many places abroad, in this example Taiwan. Your passport had to be valid for at least 6 additional months beyond your arrival date, or they won’t let you in the country. I suspect Taiwan doesn’t want visitors stuck there.
So even if my passport was valid and expired in 3 months, I likely would not have bothered renewing my passport. Lesson learned.
Never have been in this situation, I figured the only thing to do was to Google “I have a flight tomorrow and my passport expired” to figure out what to do. Surprisingly. I’m not the only idiot that has done this. I obviously had to reschedule my flight, but I found out about these emergent passport expediting services with 24 hr turn around time.
I spent 4 hrs searching flights and researching the passport expediting companies.
So here are a few thing to be aware of. These companies are not open on weekends. They are usually 9a-7p.
Now you can book an appointment with the local passport agency and get an emergent renewal (as long as the passport had not expired >5 years), but the turn around is stated to take 7-8 days. According to people online they have been able to get a passport same day.
The special expediting companies specialize in doing this and will act on your behalf. The speed in turnaround appropriately reflected in the cost. They claim the 24 hr turnaround time. That’s 24 hrs from submission of your documents to the passport agency to get the renewal done. This does Not include the transit time to the expediting agency and the return shipping.
In my situation the closest passport agencies were in Chicago and i Detroit.
I opted to trust in the expediting companies.
Next caveat is that each company is allowed so many “time slots” with the passport agency each day. Being Thursday, I would have to overnight all my paperwork and expired passport. The first 3 companies I prepaid were unable to accommodate as they had no Friday slots. Now takeaway here is that each company had so many slots. I kept calling, and finally came across http://www.apvi.com/
They had ONE slot left. Of course I took it.
It was fairly seemless and they rep walked me through everything. They even do a document review where you send pictures of everything for them to make sure there are no hiccups during the actual review process.
I overnighted the documents. They got it them next morning and went straight to the passport agency. They kept me updated the whole time.
By 430pm they had my renewed passport in hand. They overnighted it back. Being a weekend and how late it was when they could finally send it back, Saturday delivery was not an option. Now this shouldn’t be a big issue but I took a gamble and rescheduled the going to leave Tuesday (today June 4th). Luckily I received my passport Monday morning.
The next step was not to get to the airport by 440 am. As I will be give during MommyMd’s birthday, my gift to her was to not have her drive me at the asscrack of morning. (Is that a saying?)
So today was also my first foray with hailing and UBER. It was fairly seemless and not too costly.
Now I am here
Half asleep awaiting to board.
I’m going to take a nap.