We’re not going to Canada until Christmastime, so I figured that starting six months ahead of time was more than plenty for getting my passport renewed. I knew that before I got the passport, I had to get one of these newfangled Proof of Canadian Citizenship
documents. These things didn’t exist last time I renewed my passport, so I’ve never had one, but I reckoned it couldn’t be that much more involved than getting a passport from out of the country. I’ve done that several times now, and am becoming quite a whiz at it.
As you know if you’ve been reading this faversham for a while, I decided I might as well get Baby Dog’s Proof of Citizenship at the same time. I dawdled a bit, but eventually had everything together: we had our photos taken, I made copies of all the necessary identification documents, had the photocopies notarised, filled out all the application forms, wrote a cheque for the processing fees, and sent the whole magilla off to the Consulate in L.A. with a handy tracking stamp on it. I sent it on a Thursday and got confirmation that it was received the following Monday.
This week, I received a package from the L.A. consulate. “That was quick!” I thought. I tore the thing open, and naturally it did not contain our Proof of Citizenship documents. It contained a receipt for my payment of the processing fees, which was nice. But it also contained our photos, sent back because I had failed to write the date they were taken and the name of the photo studio on the back. Okay, that was my oversight. I do remember seeing the instruction to do that and my only excuse is that I thought I saw a studio stamp on the back of the photos. I should have double-checked before sending, of course, but like I said, I was under a misapprehension.
The thing that cheesed me off – as my mom says when she’s really annoyed – was that they also said I had failed to send a copy of my green card. It’s true, I hadn’t sent one; but nowhere in the online instructions did it say I had to! I thought it was a strange omission in the list of documents, but was happy not to send it along. I always figure that if I’m not asked, my immigration status is my own business. I don’t see a need to volunteer.
So, I wrote the info on the back of the photos and made copies of the green card and got the copies notarised. Then I jotted a note on the rejection form they sent me and bundled the whole thing back up to send – and just as I was sealing the envelope, my eye was caught by a singular phrase. I pulled the form back out and looked again. Sure enough, it really did say at the bottom of the form that the minimum processing time was ten months! Ten! Months!
There’s another thing they forgot to bring up in the online instructions.
I mailed the form and shot off an email to the consulate, asking if that processing time was accurate, because if it was, there was obviously no way I could have my passport in time for Christmas. I also talked with D the RSCG, a chap at the office who went through this process himself a while back. He confirmed the length of the processing time.
“That’s insane!” I said. “Why in this day and age would it take ten months to do anything?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “They can take over a country faster than that.”
And it struck me – it takes longer to get the child’s Proof of Citizenship than it does to make the child. Well, okay, it took us
five years to do that, but I mean, most people.
I heard back from the consulate lady today. She says, yes, the ten month thing really is true, but I can get a temporary passport to travel under at Christmastime. She told me who to contact about that, and I’ll get on it next week. I’m going to step away from it for the weekend, though. I can’t believe that working on this six months in advance wasn’t enough.