|The Line for US Citizen services was much shorter when I was leaving|
With the next trip less than three weeks away, I could no longer delay on getting new visa pages in my Passport.
The US Embassy’s website indicates that one can obtain new pages with a two week turnaround by sending one’s passport by mail, which wasn’t going to work for me because getting my visa to go to China will take four days.
I rang Passport Services and learned that one may have Visa pages added same day if one shows up between 830-11 am and if one can evidence that the expedited service is necessary by providing a ticketed itinerary and evidence of a visa appointment at a Foreign consulate.
Today, I went for the new pages. Here’s how it all played out
0840: Arrival, place mobile phone collection into Embassy-provided plastic bag
0841: Commence queuing
0945: Queuing Ends. Security Check.
0950: I am assigned number P36 by the security desk
0953: P36 is called to Window #1. I hand in my passport and am advised to take the bill for services over to Window #9. When I point out that there is no payment receivable, I learn that the receipt has to get to Window #9 somehow, and that way just happens to be yours truly.
0958: I make payment of 0 USD at Window #9 and receive my receipt. I feel wonderfully frugal.
0959: Waiting commences
1020: Embassy-wide announcement of the discovery of a suspicious package in the mail room. The waiting masses are undaunted. No one leaves in fear of their lives. It seems that they all have concluded that the odds of death (minute) are better risked than the odds of needing to queue up again to get back in the room (highly likely).
1050: Waiting ends. P36 is called to Window #5. Passport returned, complete with snazzy new pages, which don’t match my Passport, strategically replaced right before the introduction of biometric requirements in 2005.
Now to get my travel visas…