Published On: Mon, Mar 24th, 2014

Renewing Overseas: My Passport Experiences

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I dreaded the thought of having to travel there just to renew my passport.  But to my surprise, this was not going to be the case for this renewal.

It happens to the best of us.   You are enjoying your overseas life, laying in your hammock, casting off to take in another sunset on the Gulf…when it hits you.  Life has kept your mind occupied about everything you need to do while out of your country of origin, except for one thing…keeping your passport up to date.

This has happened to me twice.  The first time in Tokyo, Japan, back in 2008, and most recently, here in Merida, Mexico.

As a Canadian Citizen, I am fortunate to have a good handle on my documents that are needed for renewals, but in the ever changing world, sometimes your government will throw you a curveball to change things up a bit.  Thankfully, this time, it was a helpful pitch.

When I first had to go through the renewal process in 2008, I was lucky to be living in Tokyo…about 20 minutes from the embassy to be exact.  Not by any pre-planning, but mostly by dumb luck.  Japan was the first place I had lived overseas for any length of time, and most of it was 3 years of trial and error and getting it right.  Renewing a passport, at that time for a Canadian Citizen, was no cake walk.  Documents had to be notarized, certificates had to be shown in triplicate, etc…etc…  The number of times that I had to return to the embassy made me grateful of where we chose to live in town.  The stories of friends that had to travel from afar to get there, only to be turned away for one reason or another, were common.

Canadian Passport

Canadian Passport

Living in Merida, it is about a 2 hour flight or 24 hour bus ride to Mexico City where the Canadian Embassy is located.  I dreaded the thought of having to travel there just to renew my passport.  But to my surprise, this was not going to be the case for this renewal.  After some proper investigation on the website for The Embassy of Canada in Mexico, I discovered that the process for renewals had changed…for the better.

Instead of submitting all those documents that had been previously used for the renewal process, the government simplified the requirements.  All that was needed was your previous passport (not more than 1 year expired), the 2 page PDF file that you fill out on your computer, 2 identical photos (with the proper 50mm x 70mm dimensions), the $3070 processing fee, AND the return delivery waybill.  You can’t get much simpler than that.  If only I had known how easy it was, I would have done it sooner, rather than put it off, basically forgetting about it until the 11th hour.

Providing you have filled everything out correctly (which is not hard to do at all), my new passport (or yours) should arrive by courier in 20 days or less.  No more back and forth to the embassy, no more missing documents, no more piles of paperwork.  Simple. Straightforward. Easy.

by Erich Briehl

Erich Briehl is a veteran videojournalist/photojournalist who’s work has taken him to Asia and throughout the Americas.  With his beginnings back in 1997, Erich has strived to maintain ethical and professional journalistic standards, while delivering the truth in all stories he presents.

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