17 Jan Passport Renewal
Need a passport renewal while in Mexico?
Mexico is known for its charm, friendly folk and inefficiency in all matters bureaucratic. When I realized that I needed to renew my passport with an international trip on the horizon, I dreaded the oncoming experience. Who would field my questions? What kind of insane office hours would I encounter? And would I need a rush placed on the passport?
The only way to renew an American passport in Mexico is through the US Consulate. It takes 6-8 weeks, which can be inconvenient for people on the move, and costs $135 USD. You can place a rush on the passport for approximately $100 USD more and receive it in 2-4 weeks. Essentially, your old passport has to be mailed from the consulate to be renewed and once the new one arrives it must be picked up at the consulate.
The US Consulate in San Miguel de Allende is only open from 9-1. Knowing what I was walking into, I made an appointment via email to talk to our representative and express my concern that my passport be punctual so as not to interfere with my trip. Arriving for my appointment, I found the tiny waiting room packed with people and a line that snaked out the door. After learning that I had to wait in it even though I had an appointment, I was miffed. It seemed the obvious precursor to a complete bureaucratic mess.
But surprisingly, it was anything but complicated. Credit when credit is due. The US Consulate in San Miguel de Allende was friendly, fast and easy to work with. I filled out the DS-82 form and gave the woman at the desk my new photo and old passport. She assured me there would be no time conflict and …there wasn’t! My new passport arrived in 4 weeks.