Last week I mailed the applications for myself and my husband’s passport renewals as they had both expired. I sent his priority mail to the State Department here in the US with a guaranteed delivery date of September 19, I sent mine to the UK Passport office express overseas with a guaranteed delivery date of September 23. Today I arrived home and there were two DHL packages at my door, one contained my cancelled passport from the UK and the other contained my new passport from the UK. Providing that the delivery date from the post office was correct that is a turnaround time of two, or even three days depending on how you calculate it.
That is some serious kick butt service from the UK passport office. Still waiting for the husband’s passport from the State Department. I have found that the bureaucracy in the UK is far more efficient than that of the US. When my dad was diagnosed with cancer in 1996 and I was summoned home with an expired passport I had no way to get there. I called the British Embassy here in the US and they immediately went into crisis mode and faxed every airport that I would be traveling through and smoothed my way into the UK with not a hitch. I didn’t even get a glance from the Immigration Officers at Manchester Airport because they had all the information they needed at their desk the moment I arrived.
When it came to going home after my dad’s death and funeral however it was an absolute nightmare. My green card had expired, and the US flight officials at Manchester Airport wouldn’t even let me on the plane without paying a heavy fine despite the fact that I was married to an American Citizen. Money which I did not have. My mother ended up having to pay it. Then there was the taking away to a padded room once I landed in the US with another fine to pay before I was allowed back into the country.
My passport and my green card are now both current so hopefully I will have no problem going home and then returning. With the US Immigration Officials however I am not so sure.