Thursday, February 08, 2007

A New Passport!

Holding your very own passport in your hands can be a wonderful experience. It means you belong somewhere. You have a home you can always come back to. It gives you a group of people with which you can say you are a part of. It also means you can travel relatively freely from country to country and the one to whom you belong will always let you back in.

Now if you don’t have a passport and you wish to be a person who occasionally leaves his or her country it is now getting quite a bit more difficult. As many of you already know the rules in North America have recently changed. A Canadian leaving Canada now needs more than just their driver’s license to enter America. For those of you living outside of North America you might be thinking, “You didn’t even need a passport to go to America?!” Well actually, we still don’t, that is if we are driving over the border and we are doing it before January 2008. But if we are flying we do still need ye olde passporte.

Recently my passport was in need of renewal due to a work visa application. I applied for the express service and Passport Canada had it back to me in just a few days. This was back in November though, a very different time. My wife on the other hand applied for hers in December without the express service, as she wouldn’t need a new one until February. We figured we definitely had enough time for the 20 business days to pass. We even had a few extra days if necessary. Well we needed them.

We have a flight to Florida from Toronto leaving in two days. We are going on an all expenses covered cruise. A “working” cruise for me but a ‘paid for’ cruise still. Sherri’s passport has been gone since December and Passport Canada is way overloaded with phone calls so we have had no way of knowing when the passport may arrive. The last we had heard was the week of January 22nd. Needless to say we have multiple contingency plans, which are quite detailed and require recruiting the help of multiple family members. (Thank you greatest family in the world!!!)

The good thing is none of that matters now because Sherri’s passport arrived today. Thank you Passport Canada!! Anytime I have tried to call them and gotten a busy signal all I can think of is, I’m glad I don’t work there. (I also think how many Canadians are hearing the same busy signal and cursing.) Yet when I did get through the guy was still very polite and pleasant. Our experience wasn’t ideal but from what I have seen they are doing quite well with the unthinkable increase in volume that they are experiencing.

So, if you are a Canadian and think you may be traveling in the next year I suggest going to this website and printing the application immediately. Fill it out then BRING it in to the closest office. This will shave a few more days off the process. It’s going to take a long time so be patient but get it done as soon as possible. There will be another rush once you need a passport to drive over the border in 2008 so the sooner you take care of it the better.

So now both Sherri and I can proudly hold our passports and say we are Canadians. We have a place where we belong. We have a place that will always let us in. Even when it’s -15C and we’re not sure we even want to come home.

GL

6 comments:

Krista 2/09/2007 9:39 AM  

Hint taken. Must get passport. Did you know that I have never been on a plane? The farthest I've travelled is Florida, you were there - it must have been 1988 the last time we went. I need to get out there!

Great news! I'm so glad that everything worked out. Driving to Buffalo may not have been a great option - sounds like they're getting dumped on with snow again. Enjoy that cruise - and make sure they plan another one! :)

Holly 2/09/2007 11:36 AM  

Whew! Glad to hear it worked out for Sherri! But your entry is a good reminder, even for us Americans. I think mine will be up for renewal in another year or two, so it's something I need to check on and not forget!!

Gina,  2/10/2007 3:18 PM  

Hurray!! I was seriously praying that something would work out for her... Erin had posted on facebook that you guys would be out of the country for a few weeks after this. It would not be cool if your wives couldn't spend quality time with you guys beforehand!

See! All that scrambling and God had the details already worked out (funny how he works that way ;-)

Fred 2/10/2007 7:48 PM  

Great - you are on your way. Got my passport this wee too, and we are off to Hawaii in May! (by the way it tends to be still snowing in Calgary in May).

Kara 2/14/2007 4:15 AM  

I already have my passport (yay) but now I need a new one because I'm getting married (to an Aussie!) in June! I don't know if the Passport Agency here in my part of Seattle will issue me a brand spanking new one or just amend my old one. :s Oy. The joys of changing my name and other legal matters before moving... :s

Glad you two have yours!

Kara 2/14/2007 4:16 AM  

I went on the KLOVE cruise last year with Third Day. *Amazing* time! :D Enjoy it guys. ;) Wish I was going to AtlantaFest again this year to see you play but AF07 falls on my friend's wedding weekend and is 2 weeks before my own wedding. Say howdy to the TD guys. ;)

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