Oh, the Passport Fiasco!

I don’t think I ever posted about the issues I had with the Passport people before I went to Mexico did I? Shall I share then? Great!

My parents booked my flight to Mexico in my married name (silly me assumed all the name-change stuff would be done by then!), so I needed to add my married surname to my passport. So, I looked up on the website what I needed (a letter stating that I want it added, what the new surname is, etc.) and some ID. SOOOooOOO, Brad and I go to the passport office (it’s quicker in person, and Brad needed to apply for the first time), hand our stuff in and leave. Easy peasy!!

Yeah, right.

So, a couple weeks later, I get my passport in the mail. I’m so excited that I open the envelope while on the phone with a friend, M. and completely stop mid-sentence.

“One sec.” Say I to M.
“What’s wrong?” Asks M., hearing the incredulity in my voice. Brad is hovering nearby.
“They put the wrong name on my passport.”
“What??!?” Ask Brad and M. simultaneously. I tell M. I’ll talk to her later and hang up, completely confused.

So apparently when you ADD a surname, they just stick a sticker in your passport that says, “The bearer’s married surname is (insert completely incorrect surname here)”.

“Hmmm.” Think I.

I go on their website. It doesn’t say anywhere what to do if your passport has the wrong info in it. I call Passport Canada. After waiting probably 15 minutes on hold, I am told that I’m just going to have to go back and talk to them at the office. I feel badly for that lady – I was NOT a happy camper!

So, this is Thursday, January 25. We leave on February 3. One week.

I go to the Passport office the next morning (before school, people!) and bypass the huge line and talk to the customer service lady like so:

“So, I got my passport yesterday.” PAUSE “It has the wrong name added to it.”
“I added my married name to my passport, received it yesterday and it has the wrong name in it.”
Passport Lady takes my passport.
“Yeah. I leave for Mexico in a week.”
“Oh dear.”
“Okay, let me check some stuff.” Passport Lady does some clickin’ on the keyboard. “It’s not even the right passport number!”
I sigh loudly. “Let me check something else,” click click click. “Well, everything was ENTERED right. Hmm! I’m going to go talk to someone.”
I wait impatiently.
“Okay, so here’s what we’re going to do. You’re going to have to fill out a new application …”
“Pardon?” I am not impressed.
“Yeah, a new one – they’re on the wall over there. (She points. Points!!!) You’re going to have to fill it all out again, but with your married name. But don’t worry, we’ll waive the guarantor section (gee, thanks! You mean I don’t have to go find a lawyer/doctor/clergyman/engineer who’s known me for over two years in the next 15 minutes? wow, how gracious of you!) but you *will* need a new photo.”
“A new photo.” Completely unimpressed.
“There’s a guy downstairs who does it.”
“And do *I* need to pay for this?”
“No, we’ll reimburse you. So, if you go do that, we can have it ready in two hours.”

So I go. With my application. To the photo guy. While the photo is developing I frantically try to fill out the passport application (who knows the address of their school off by heart? place of employment? two friends, their addresses and phone numbers? gah!!!).

The photo guy gives me the photos and politely (ever so politely) says:
“There’s a nice cafe just out there with tables.”
He’s trying to get rid of me. I cringe and try not to scream.
I finish filling out the application, with the help of Passport Lady who ends up having to look up my friends’ addresses and phone numbers online. I hand it in. It will be ready by the time I get back from school, I’m told. It was.

I got to Mexico fine, I got back fine. I thought that was the end of it.

Today I get a call, “Hi! This is the passport office. We’re just calling to let you know that there’s been a security warning issued for your passport.”
“Yeah. Apparently with everything that happened, the passport office didn’t like what we did. So we’re going to need your passport back.”
“Ummmm ….”
“We’re going to issue you a new one with your maiden name and a sticker for your married name.”
“So, what should have been done but wasn’t, right?”
“Yep! So …” Details, details. A security warning? My passport? What if this had happened while I was in Mexico?!?! I am assured that everything would have been fine.

Unbelievable, no?


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