As I mentioned in a prior post, passports are now sent via DHL rather than requiring a return trip to the consulate or embassy. (See Getting Legal–Renewing our U.S. passports in México–Trip 1) While on the surface, this may seem like a streamlined process, for us it required a bit of extra effort.
As we have no address in La Yacata we made arrangements with the local DHL office to have the passports sent to the office and they would call us to pick it up. At the beginning of September, I received a phone call from an apologetic worker that said if we did not pick up the package that contained my son’s passport before 1 p.m. that day, it would be returned to the U.S. embassy in Mexico City. He explained that the package had been at the office for 30 days. I asked why no one had contacted us before now. Seems he had been on vacation and no one else thought to call. I assured him that we would be there pronto (soon). He reminded me that since the passport was for a minor, I would need to present not only my photo I.D. but my son’s U.S. birth certificate. I sent my husband with the documents immediately and all was well.
Only the parents or tutores (guardians) with valid official Mexican identification may pick up a package sent via DHL for a minor recipient. The parent or guardian also must present the minor’s original U.S. birth certificate along with a copy.
After I submitted a new passport photo in San Miguel de Allende (See Getting Legal–Renewing our U.S. passports in México–Trip 3), I waited a few weeks, then checked the website with the tracking number. I couldn’t figure out what the locations and shipment details meant, but thought it a good idea to go in person and check whether it had arrived. I was concerned it might be sent back and my passport would be seen no more and the process would need to be repeated–that’s how my luck tends to be anyway.
So during my lunch break towards the end of September, I headed to the office. In order to pick up the document, I would need to present a valid IFE (voter registration card), my passport or my driver’s license. Well, since I am a permanent resident, not a citizen, I am not eligible to vote and, therefore, have no IFE. (See Getting Legal–Residency at last) Then, since my passport had expired and the new passport was inside the package, I wouldn’t be able to present that as identification. Fortunately, I had made the special effort to get my moto license this summer, so I had valid Mexican identification. (See Getting Legal–License to drive) I am not sure why my Mexican Permanent Residency Card would not be acceptable for identification purposes, but it hasn’t been accepted in any place that I have tried to use it. Not at the bank, not at the driver’s license place, and not at DHL. What’ s the point in having gone through the effort of getting the card if it’s not considered valid I.D.?
If I wanted to send my husband for the package, since he does have a current IFE, he would need to present a carta poder simple (letter granting permission) signed by me, the person the package was addressed to, in addition to his own IFE, passport or driver’s license and a copy of my own IFE, passport or driver’s license. Seems simpler to go myself.
So I went to the office still with the uncertainty whether it had arrived and presented my tracking papers and I.D. My package had arrived and after a bit of searching, the clerk handed it over. You can not imagine my relief. I’m now good passport wise for 10 years, my son for 5.
Along with my passport where some brochures from the U.S. government. I was interested to note that I can now register with a STEP program (Smart Traveler Enrollment Program) and the U.S. government can track my travels. No, thank you. I can now also register my minor child in the CPIAP (Children’s Passport Issuance Alert Program) in the Department’s Passport Lookout System. Seems that if a minor registered by one or the other parent makes an application for a passport, the parent that did the registering would be contacted and informed of possible plans for international travel. Again, no thanks. The U.S. government also kindly provides daily updates on Facebook and Twitter for travel alerts and warnings. No thanks! And there is a free application for Apple devices (Smart Traveler) for your traveling pleasure. Not on your life! But thanks just the same for the information. Have a nice day!