Refund of Passport Speed-Up Charges DuePosted: Updated:
TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Frustrated travelers who paid an extra 60 dollars to get their US passports extra-quick -- and still had to wait for them -- can now get a refund from the government.
The decision to refund the money is the latest effort to come to grips with a massive backlog in passport applications that has ruined or delayed vacation plans for thousands.
The delays were largely due to a new rule that requires US citizens to have passports when flying to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.
Last week, the government announced it was suspending that rule until September, as long as travelers to those countries carried a printout receipt showing they had applied for a passport.
Homeland Security officials warn the passport delays will not affect their schedule of requiring passports of everyone driving across the border into Canada or Mexico beginning in January 2008.
Some experts think that will lead to a fourfold increase in new demand for passports.
The State Department said people who did not get their passport on time and paid extra should send a letter to the refund office in Washington and include their name, age, address, date and place of birth, when they applied for the passport, and phone number.
Refund requests should be sent to the following address:
Department of State
2100 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20037-3202