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Papirex


Jul 28, 2010, 2:59 PM

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Renewed my US passport this week

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I went to The US Embassy in México City and renewed my passport yesterday. México City is only about 56 miles from here, but that is just to the city limits. It took another hour and a half in very heavy traffic to get to the Embassy, Altogether, it was a 7 hour ordeal to keep my appointment, have lunch, and make the round trip. Besides the time and gas there is an $86 Peso toll each way on the Cuota (toll highway) for a total of $172 Pesos ($13.59 US Dlls.) I was also lucky enough to need to pay the extra security surcharge of $40 US Bucks instead of the old fee of just $70 Bucks for a passport renewal, so I was lucky enough to pay a total of $110 bucks instead. It cost me a total of $123.59 US Bucks plus the gas and a lot of frustration to renew it today.

I had some passport photos made at a Kodak store here in Cuernavaca, I was charged $40 Pesos for 8 prints, even though I only needed 2. They turned out to be too small. Fortunately, I was able to have the correct sized photos made at The passport office in The Embassy for $50 Pesos for 2 prints.


You must make an appointment in advance to renew, or be issued a new passport. There were several options given for renewing an expired, or first time passport, but none for a passport that had not yet expired. It is a confusing web page. There is a phone number listed to call for an emergency trip with an expired passport. You must call that number between 3 and 6 PM. I tried to call it for four days, hoping I could get some clarification from a real, Mark I human being. I always got the message that “the person that is supposed to answer this phone is unavailable now, call again later.” I don't know what a person would do if they had a real emergency.


I finally filled out and printed the form to renew an expired passport, even though my passport did not expire for a few days. It expired last Saturday, my appointment to renew it was on Tuesday. I was then able to choose a date available for an appointment to come in to renew mine. The form you must fill out on line is very confusing. It is for a mail in renewal, and it lists a US address to mail it to. When I printed it, there was no US mailing address on it, and I was immediately given the option of making an appointment at The embassy to renew my passport.


I was not given any documentation to show that I had applied for a renewal, except for a Receipt when I paid them. My new passport is supposed to be ready in 7 to 9 days. Instead of going through the nightmare of coming back to the Embassy to pick it up, I opted to have it delivered to my home here in Cuernavaca. There will be a cost of $120 Pesos to be paid on delivery, That is less than the road tolls,gasoline, and time it would take to pick it up in México City. I don't know if it will be delivered by the post office or a courier.

It has been several years since I visited The Embassy. They have remodeled it a lot. It used to be a snap to gain entry, just show your passport and you were in, there was a fence in front of the building, and you could come in to the front yard to talk to the Marine guards. No fence or yard anymore, and now, they have a bunch of private security guards, no Marines in sight. They take all of your information outside, and then make you wait out on the sidewalk until the time of your appointment, and they take just about everything in your pockets or purse until you come out, both of our cell phones, and the cell phone case for my cell phone, it has a magnetic closure, and a metal belt clip, my lighter, metal cigarette case, pens and pencils, a pocket and pen knife of course, and even a little one celled penlight. They even had me take off my belt so they could X Ray it.


I had listed Doris and her mother as coming with me, or they could not enter. Sarita decided to wait in the van when we got there, they spent about ten minutes going through Doris' purse, they took anything and everything made of metal, including her lipstick. They also wanted to see some kind of official Mexican government issued ID for her. ( a Mexican drivers license is not acceptable) Going to The US Embassy has changed from a pleasant experience to a minor nightmare. I hope the Consulates are not going to emulate the Embassy's' policies.


I don't know if it is possible anymore to just drop by The Embassy anymore to do any business at one of the agencies, like the Social Security office located there, without an appointment to get inside.


There is an estacionamiento on the same side of the street as The Embassy, about 50 meters past it. There is also a very noisy Sanborns restaurant about 50 meters past the estacionamiento, also on the same side of the street.


With any luck, I won't be here to need to go through this in another ten years.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo



joaquinx


Jul 28, 2010, 4:28 PM

Post #2 of 18 (11211 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Renewed my US passport this week

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I renewed mine in January and did not need an appointment. I did have to wait along the side of the building until the main gate opened. I told them that I wanted to go to the Passport office. They let me inside after emptying all my pockets including my cellphone where I keep all the information on my next of kin, so I had to make up an address for my reference. They don't take Mexican debit cards and I left my US debit card at home, thus I had to pay cash. It took a half hour inside the embassy, but one hour of wait outside.

No Marines, as they are in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least the private security guards speak very good English and are polite.

I had to exit the outside gate before they would give me my personal items.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


esperanza

Jul 28, 2010, 4:28 PM

Post #3 of 18 (11211 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Renewed my US passport this week

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Security at the US Consulate in Guadalajara is identical to security at the US embassy in the DF. I have experienced both. It's all about post-9/11.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Papirex


Jul 28, 2010, 4:59 PM

Post #4 of 18 (11204 views)

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Re: [joaquinx] Renewed my US passport this week

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When I paid them for my renewal, I brought enough American money to pay them, and also enough Mexican money to pay them in cash, since I wasn't sure of which they would prefer. I never like to use a debit or credit card anywhere in México. That is just my personal preference.


When they gave me a slip with the prices on it to take to the cashier, it had the prices in American Dollars, and the prices in Mexican Pesos on it. I paid in Pesos as I like to keep some American money here to start out with on our rare trips NOB, that has been handy to catch a cab etc. at an airport without needing to find an ATM.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


joaquinx


Jul 28, 2010, 5:06 PM

Post #5 of 18 (11202 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Renewed my US passport this week

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Quote
I never like to use a debit or credit card anywhere in México.


I have a Mexican debit card with a small balance so if is compromised in anyway, its not that great a loss. The US bank card is used to withdraw money. Somehow BofA likes to freeze the card every time I use it for something. I've been living here for 10 years and BofA thinks that I'm on vacation and the card has been stolen.
_______
My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.


skier14

Jul 28, 2010, 8:30 PM

Post #6 of 18 (11173 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Renewed my US passport this week

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Hate to disappoint you, but my recent trip to the consulate in Guadalajara and went through the same security search. I had left everything metal in my car so I was fine, except for my plastic pocket comb. Not allowed. I had to toss it. I wounder who stabbed someone with their comb. There have been private security guards at Guadalajara for quite a few years. As a matter of fact I have never seen a U.S. Marine on duty in the 8 years I have been using this consulate.


Papirex


Jul 28, 2010, 9:19 PM

Post #7 of 18 (11161 views)

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Re: [skier14] Renewed my US passport this week

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Wow, I guess I lucked out. I got to keep that dangerous weapon, my pocket comb.

It has been at least 10 years since I went to The US Embassy in México City. There were many Marine guards there then. They were all polite, spoke fluent English, and were very thorough. Most US military personell will stand and fight in an emergency situation. Most Mexican private security guards will run and hide in an emergency. They are usually only allowed to fire 3 bullets, they must usually pay for any more than that out of their own pocket. I don't know if The US Embassy has done anything to address that issue, but I don't trust them.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Rolly


Jul 28, 2010, 10:11 PM

Post #8 of 18 (11159 views)

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Re: Renewed my US passport this week

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I did mine the easy way -- by mail from my sister's address in Texas.

Rolly Pirate


Anonimo

Jul 29, 2010, 3:06 AM

Post #9 of 18 (11151 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Renewed my US passport this week

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When we renew our passports toward the end of this year, we'll make an appointment with Consular Agent Ed Clancy, in SMA. We won't get the new ones back for a bit longer than Rex waited, but the experience should prove to be more pleasant. Our correspondence with Ed Clancy shows he is a courteous, real human being.

Our understanding is that our renewals will have to be processed at the US Embassy in Mexico City, but we can apply and pick up the passports in San Miguel.



Saludos,
Anonimo


prmjcm


Jul 29, 2010, 9:24 AM

Post #10 of 18 (11107 views)

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Re: [Anonimo] Renewed my US passport this week

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I went to SMA to renew my passport Ed Clancey was very nice and I had to wait maybe 15 minutes, it does take about six weeks they told me, but I can pick it up in SMA, so it was a very good expierence.

Pat Moore


Papirex


Aug 7, 2010, 9:13 AM

Post #11 of 18 (10896 views)

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Re: [prmjcm] Renewed my US passport this week

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A small update on the progress of my renewed US passport. Yesterday, August 6th I got a phone call from a woman at the passport office in The US Embassy in México City. It was 9 working days, and 11 calendar days after I made the application to renew my passport.


The woman spoke no English, none, zip. She did apologize for not speaking any English. She was speaking Spanish too fast for me to completely understand everything she was saying. I handed the phone to my Mexicana wife. The lady at the Embassy said my new passport was now ready, and I could come to pick it up. I had indicated on the application forms that I wanted it delivered to our home here in Cuernavaca.


Once we made it clear that I wanted it delivered to my home, the lady said it will be delivered on Monday, August 9th. The $120 Peso charge to have it delivered to our house is less than the total of $172 Peso tolls on the cuota, plus the gas, parking fees and time and hassle to drive to The Embassy in usually always heavy traffic in that city.


It was a little surprising that a US Embassy employee did not speak a bit of English, but not too surprising. Most of the Embassy employees are Mexican nationals, and their fluency in English varies a lot. A couple of decades ago I was helping my late cuñado who was trying to get a job there. He was very fluent in English.


I was in contact with The Embassy a lot, this was during the tenure of Ambassador Jeffry Davidow. The Embassy was actually very helpful and user friendly during his term as Ambassador. I was informed at that time that The Embassy tries to hire as many Mexican nationals as possible, and pays them at Mexican prevailing wages. The US State Department very seldom transfers a US employee to The US Embassy in México as they would be required to continue paying them US wages and benefits, Credit for a US retirement, US health benefits, etc.


Anyway, it is not uncommon to find employees there that are not very fluent in English, but this was the first time I have ever encountered one that spoke no English at all though. My poor Spanish usually makes me understood, this time it didn't.


Now I will need to stay home all day on Monday to see if they can find our house, often the post office can't, there are odd and even house numbers on both sides of our street, plus, we live on calle Dos, there is also a calle 2 here, they are often confused.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


Peter


Aug 9, 2010, 12:01 AM

Post #12 of 18 (10792 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Renewed my US passport this week

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Does Mexico or the US have requirements about when the passport is to be renewed? Does Mexico, for instance, require that your passport be valid throughout the term of your visa or does it even matter if it is current? Does the US have any requirement about how early or late the passport can or must be renewed? Mine is still good until 2014 but this seems like a good time to bring up the question.


Papirex


Aug 9, 2010, 6:18 AM

Post #13 of 18 (10778 views)

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Re: [Peter] Renewed my US passport this week

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I don't think The United States has any requirements about when to renew a passport, but you must now show a US passport to when you leave The US, or to re-enter The US when returning from any other country, whether by land or air. It is easier to get a new US passport if it has not expired yet, or if it has been expired for a short length of time. One of the questions asked on the passport renewal application form that I recently filed was if my passport was expired, was it within the past 15 years?


Here in Morelos state in México, I am required to show my valid US passport every year when renewing my visa, FM3, or FM2, that probably varies from state to state here. I must also show my valid US passport every year when renewing my Mexican drivers license. Morelos state will not issue a drivers license valid for more than one year to a non-Mexican citizen.


I think it is a good idea, if not a necessity, to have a valid passport, as you never know who, or when you will be asked to produce a valid passport from your country here. I always keep 2 or 3 printed copies of mine, as the various agency's here often ask for copies of some, or all pages of it. When I renew my Mexican drivers license every year, they only want copies of 2 pages of my passport. I give those 2 pages to them and when I get home, I then reprint the 2 pages that I gave them.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo


RickS


Aug 9, 2010, 9:47 AM

Post #14 of 18 (10746 views)

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Re: [Peter] Renewed my US passport this week

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Does Mexico or the US have requirements about when the passport is to be renewed? Does Mexico, for instance, require that your passport be valid throughout the term of your visa or does it even matter if it is current? Does the US have any requirement about how early or late the passport can or must be renewed? Mine is still good until 2014 but this seems like a good time to bring up the question.


Peter, maybe I'm not understanding your question, but US passports clearly have a "Date of Expiration" ...day/month/year. Any later than that and one doesn't have a valid passport. I can't answer the question as to 'how early' one can update but 3-6 months would be a reasonable expectation.

(This post was edited by RickS on Aug 9, 2010, 9:49 AM)


Casa

Aug 9, 2010, 11:19 AM

Post #15 of 18 (10732 views)

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Re: [Peter] Renewed my US passport this week

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Does Mexico or the US have requirements about when the passport is to be renewed? Does Mexico, for instance, require that your passport be valid throughout the term of your visa or does it even matter if it is current? Does the US have any requirement about how early or late the passport can or must be renewed? Mine is still good until 2014 but this seems like a good time to bring up the question.


According to the US State Department:

If possible, you should renew your passport approximately nine (9) months before it expires. Some countries require that your passport be valid at least six (6) months beyond the dates of your trip. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met.



Maesonna

Aug 9, 2010, 12:18 PM

Post #16 of 18 (10724 views)

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Re: [Peter] Renewed my US passport this week

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In Reply To
Does Mexico or the US have requirements about when the passport is to be renewed? Does Mexico, for instance, require that your passport be valid throughout the term of your visa or does it even matter if it is current? Does the US have any requirement about how early or late the passport can or must be renewed? Mine is still good until 2014 but this seems like a good time to bring up the question.


No, and yes. There are no explicit requirements from either Mexico or US, so you could exist here legally with an expired passport, but you would soon run up against obstacles.
1. You would need your valid passport to do any international travel.
2. You would need your valid passport for any operation, transaction or trámite that requires official ID (such as withdrawals at the bank, renewing your visa, etc.)

Anything you might do that if you were Mexican, you would show your IFE card as official ID, we foreigners have to show our passports. And for most purposes, the passport has to be valid. I managed to do some bank stuff a couple of times with my expired passport, but the tellers were getting tired of my rollo, and I don’t think they would have let me do it a third time. I bit the bullet and renewed (am Canadian, though, so the details were different).


Peter


Aug 9, 2010, 1:44 PM

Post #17 of 18 (10714 views)

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Re: [Papirex] Renewed my US passport this week

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Thanks, I think everyone responding helped answer the question I was concerned with. My current passport was renewed with my old one that had been expired for about 8 years so if they are concerned about 15 years recent that is not rushing the matter any. My Michoacán drivers license required my FM3 but did not care about a passport. You can pay a different fee and have a license issued for 1, 3, or 5 years. I don't like dealing with bureaucracy so got mine for 5 years and have about a year left on it.

I am living in Mexico and haven't left for over three years and have no intention of doing so for a long time if at all. I have plenty of time left on my current passport but the discussion here is fresh so thought it a good time to inquire about it. My concern was that perhaps the US did not like renewing the passport too early like Mexico about renewing a visa.

As I recall my passport expiration is about two months after my visa renewal date. My concern was that Mexico might require that my passport be valid during the entire time, one year, that my visa would be issued to cover. If that were true I would need to be applying for a new passport a year or more before its expiration date. It looks as if that may be what I will have to do since it would be expiring about two months after my visa renewal date.

My previous passport was still good for ID in the US even though it was expired. If Mexico didn't care about how current my US passport is and would continue my visa process each year despite the passport expiration then I could just wait for a more appropriate time to renew it. I am still unclear about how that will work out.


Papirex


Aug 9, 2010, 4:30 PM

Post #18 of 18 (10687 views)

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Re: [Peter] Renewed my US passport this week

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As anyone that has lived here for a while knows, things are done differently in just about every Mexican Federal office here, there are no national standards that are universally adhered to. There are different fees for different terms that a drivers license is valid for here, but a non-Mexican citizen can only get a one year license in Morelos state. Last November, I finally changed my visa from a FM3 to a FM2 at The INM office here. It will expire this next November. My old US passport was due to expire this July. The fact that it would not be valid for the full year term of my FM2 was not an issue at the Morelos INM office.


As a side note, my new US passport was delivered to my house at 11 AM this morning. It was 13 calendar days from the day I applied for it, I'm happy now. It was delivered by Paquete Express, another reliable Mexican shipping company. Incidentally, on page 4 where you are supposed to enter your personal information in pencil, they ask for your address in the United States, and on another line, they ask for your foreign address. Maybe the legal “experts” that do not live in México that keep falsely insisting that using a residence address by a person living permanently outside of The United States is illegal and a crime can explain that one.


I was happy that it was not sent via the Mexican post office, they are very unreliable in our area, and I might never see it if they got their hands on it. We had one box that one of our daughters mailed to us here stolen in the post office, in spite of my warning her to never mail anything to us in Cuernavaca. The mailmen do not know this area, and we very often get mail intended for other houses in our colonia. We very often get mail for our next door neighbor. Her house number is 6 and we are #5. There are odd and even numbers on both sides of our street, We have a large metal number 5 on our front wall, it doesn't help. Many of the mailmen here seem to have a reading problem too.


I wanted to renew my passport before it expired. The website for the passport office in The US Embassy is so non-user friendly that the best I could do was to choose an appointment day to renew a few days after my passport expired. Maybe you will have better luck at a consulate.


Rex
"The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved" - Victor Hugo
 
 
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