Yesterday afternoon, we received an email from Arturo, a representative from CIBT, that our paperwork had been received and there were some issues, as shown below:
- “Flight itinerary must be confirmed and up to date with your name on the form showing that you are the passenger for the State Department to process your passport in a rush time frame. ( dates, country traveling to with dates within 14 days of travel. )
- Please upload a photo. The photo must be taken facing forward with a neutral expression and from the waist up (this will help me adjust the photo to fit the State Department criteria ). Please take the photo against a white wall or background and upload it so I can work with it.
- The Letter of Authorization is a legal government document, and the courier company you wrote down is not what is in the top right corner. You wrote FEDEX, and it should be VISA SERVICES OF HOUSTON, as is posted in the upper right corner of the letter.”
Of course, we panicked, thinking we would have problems promptly correcting these issues. Immediately we got to work and fixed #3, which meant we had to reprint the blank document, fill it out and sign it, scan it, and print one copy of the original document.
Thank goodness we had a good scanner app on my phone, Mobile Scanner, which I downloaded a few months ago. If a scan is slightly lopsided, the app will adjust it and make it straight. It’s pretty easy to use after a few minutes of figuring it out. We got the forms redone and then realized I had written the date wrong on my form by not showing the year as 2023 but instead writing 5/31/23. This wouldn’t be good enough, so I did the entire process all over again. There’s no margin for error on these forms.
As for #1, that was an issue. When we prepared the original documents, we booked a flight, but the requirements stated our travel dates had to be within two weeks of filing for the renewals. We submitted that flight schedule but recently canceled it when our dates changed.
Then, when CIBT received the flight schedule, they tried to verify the booking, and when it wasn’t verifiable, Arturo sent us this requirement in the objections to our file. Only yesterday, we booked a flight and hotel for our departure from Florida to Scotland on July 28, which didn’t comply with the two-week requirement.
It was too risky for us to have a new appointment with CIBT to finalize our documents. With the US State Department backed up with passports and renewals for months, we worried something could go wrong and we wouldn’t get the passports back in time for our departure. We’d be in big trouble then!
After speaking to Arturo yesterday afternoon after receiving his email with the required changes, he assured us that he’d get everything processed immediately and not to worry about the two-week requirement. Whew! We could breathe easily.
For point #2, the passport photos we had taken at a Walgreen store in the US during our last visit were blurry and wouldn’t work. Using my phone, we took new photos. I have never seen such awful images of either of us, but once we submitted them to Arturo, he said they were fine, and he’d get them to work to the satisfaction of the US State Department.
This morning, after breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant in Colony Square, we headed to the FedEx store in the golf cart and sent in the replacement documents as required, and we should be good to go. Now, we are waiting to hear if everything is OK once Arturo receives the packet of documents in the next 24 hours.
We stopped for petrol for the golf cart. We’ve used the golf cart many times, and gosh, it doesn’t use much fuel! The gas gauge isn’t working, so we had no idea how much fuel we’d need other than looking down the hole. As it turned out, we only needed to add a little over one gallon for $4.00.
After the pleasant drive this morning, we have no doubt we’ll be able to head to any of the town squares, even the furthest from us at Spanish Springs, which appears to be a 40 minutes drive, according to the app for the golf cart driving directions on my phone.
The once-monthly cleaner, Jennifer, arrived today to clean the house while we were out. By the time we returned, she was almost done, and the house, although perfectly tidy when she arrived, felt fresh and clean. We’ve kept everything organized and clean, but a deep cleaning was welcome. She spent almost three hours here.
After our huge breakfast, we’ll have a light dinner tonight and enjoy our evening at the house; with peace of mind, we’ve completed the passport renewal applications as required.
Photo from ten years ago today, June 1, 2013:
No photos were posted on this date, but we posted a story about the imminent danger of visiting the Pyramids from the US State Department. See the post here.