Passport Madness

I finally received my sparkly new passport in the mail yesterday and I’m halfway to the point of relief. I have my appointment set up for the Greencard (update) and I’m crossing my fingers that it is a painless process.

The Australian passport update was a little crazy and involved me calling the Australian Embassy about 4 different times (literally) to understand everything I needed to do (and gather). It took about 10-days for the Embassy to process the paperwork once I finally sent it all in. But alas – I have my passport in hand and am one step closer to traveling as a “married woman.”

Need to get your Australian Passport renewed? If so, simply follow these “easy” steps:

  • Gather together every important piece of documentation you own including: Marriage License, Drivers License, Social Security Card, ATM card, Birth Certificate, Australian Certificate, and Current Passport.
  • Get two new passport photos taken and make sure they are sized appropriately to your specific country (here are the Australia specs). I went to WalGreens and it took about a half hour to get it all squared away.
  • Fill out (and print) the online form.
  • Find someone who could serve as a Guarantor to prove you are who you say you are (this is a major pain!). They’ll have to fill out a portion of your online form (which I had printed out at this point) and sign the back of one of your two (new) passport photos.
  • Go to the bank and get a Cashier’s Cheque for $244 (they don’t accept personal checks) and make sure to include an additional $15 if you want them to send your (precious) packet back via FedEx (and you do!).
  • Finally – send all of the above items (via FedEx) to the Atlanta Embassy (only if you live in NC – but otherwise you’ll be able to set-up an appointment at your nearest Embassy). For those lucky NC residents – we have to hope to heaven that nothing happens to our precious package. I kept imaging how terrible it would be if someone got a hold of this FedEx package and how easily it could turn into an identity-theft nightmare. Not a fun idea.

Now it’s just “getting back in” to the country that I have to worry about. Yes, it’s Greencard time. So far, I’ve filled out and submitted this form to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with an online payment of $450(!). I will have to travel on my old greencard when I head to Mexico in a few weeks and I’m hoping I don’t run into too much trouble getting back into the country again. I CAN’T WAIT to have this process over with!

* A “funny” side note: After you make the payment online you won’t get a confirmation email or message. You just sit there, hoping it has all worked properly and in a few weeks the USCIS will send you a letter in the mail stating your biometrics appointment (day and time). How stressful.