Passport Bureaucracy April thru June 2015

I certainly don’t feel safer now that I’ve experienced the Bureaucracy of three divisions of government concerning the single issue of renewing my Passport.

Granted, I have the copy of the Passport issued in 1983, but don’t have the one issued in 2002. So- yes I know I have to meet with a Postal Official to initiate the process of getting a current Passport.

So, I called the Wake Forest, NC post office to schedule an appointment for seeing someone. The recorded voice said I had to leave my name and number and that someone would call me back. After 3 hours, no return call. So, I drove to that post office to see if an appointment might be available.

Nope, no appointment was available. Yet, while I stood in line, one clerk helped another family process documents and within 15 minutes the same clerk reviewed Diann’s renewal documents and accepted them for mailing to the State Department.

I was told I needed to have an appointment…. and that someone would call me within 10 days to do so!

Diann and I are returning to Marathon so it seemed logical to try an appointment there- and got one scheduled a week out. BUT, I was told I needed to bring a certified copy of my Birth Certificate (like I carry one with me at all times).

So I asked if my current US Coast Guard Captain’s License, and even more recent Transportation Worker’s Identification Card could provide a substitute for a Birth Certificate.

THE ANSWER WAS NO.

Now, here’s my frustration with the United States having toooo many agency thumbs in the pie:

To have received my first passport, I had to have a Birth Certificate.

To have received my Coast Guard Captain’s License, I had to present my Birth Certificate, and

To have gotten a TWIC card, I have been vetted by the FBI and other Homeland agencies.

So, why could a Coast Guard License, TWIC card, and expired Passport not prove I was born??

While waiting for a return call from Marathon, I called the State Department in Washington and after a short cordial discussion it was determined that US Coast Guard Licenses “aren’t on the list” though Pilot’s licenses are on the list. The contact said she thought the local agent could make their own determination of ID.

However, when the Marathon Postal Person called me back, she said I needed a Birth Certificate along with all my other stuff.

Oh boy.

Vital Records in Raleigh NC is open until 3PM to “serve” citizens with copies of Birth Certificates. I left Wake Forest just before 2PM  and made it to the area of the building with a half hour to spare.

BUT…. there was no sign showing the location , nor easily visible street number to ID the relevant structure. Visitor Parking, too, was questionable.

After parking, I went into the most logical building. Staff indicated that their building was often mistaken for the appropriate building and so I was escorted back to the street and pointed diagonally to the right place.

Once there, I processed.

Though there are placards which say “Cash, Certified Checks, Credit and Debit Cards”- they don’t really take Credit cards. So, I had to process one of my bank cards as a debit- for the first time ever.

Oh Yes! That appointment I had made for 3PM on May 1st at Marathon- they called that morning and canceled due to a staff member being sick. No one else could fill in.

I’ll work on another appointment once I reach Southport NC in June.  Let’s see how smooth that goes???

Ooops, the Southport Post office doesn’t process passport information.

UPDATE Hickory- June 23rd

Yea. The appointment I made with the Hickory Post Office staff was kept. It took no time to spend money in Hickory for the passport process. Let’s see: Wake Forest, Marathon, Southport, Hickory- four post offices over three months and my passport renewal is now underway. I feel safer already knowing Homeland Security is efficient.

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