In the beginning of April, my passport expired. I knew I was travelling in May, so I went to my nearest Passport Canada office with all the paperwork I needed, new pictures and cash. It was a painless experience. In, ticket, called, presented, paid, out. Just as it should be with any passport renewal.
But then it happened. A citizens worst nightmare. The passport didn't arrive on my doorstep.
It was to be mailed to me on May 5th, that's what my receipt said. So I didn't call until May 9th about my passport. Seems it not only came to my house, but it turned around and went right back as Undeliverable.
Undeliverable? How? I get my mail all the time!
Was it because I wasn't home to sign for it? No, they'd of left a notice for me to come to the post office to get it... So, why, then did it get returned?
I don't know. They don't know. Effectively, no one knows.
When I called in May 9th, I asked them to mail it instead to the Passport Office and I'll pick it up. This was okay, but it had its risks. See, here's the problem. It could "take about a week" to arrive, and, I have travel on May 19th. So that 'week' it could take? That's all the time I had. An alternate was proposed: If it didn't arrive by Thursday, I was to go into the Passport Office, declare my passport "lost" and reapply for an urgent passport replacement. It costs a fortune, but it was an option.
Come Wednesday that just passed, May 14, I still haven't gotten a call and I was getting worried. I may have to go in Thursday and do this urgent replacement. So I called them again. I called to see if maybe it was at the Passport Office and they just got my number wrong, or perhaps haven't gotten to calling me yet. Or, hell, just tell me with the tracking ID if it's going to arrive soon! The guy I talked to? "Sorry, I can't see any of that information. But I can have the Passport Office call you."
...I've been waiting for the Passport Office to call me. They haven't yet. But fine, yes, I asked for them to call me.
Thursday morning, May 15... I get the call of doom. They didn't have my passport. Worse yet, they had no record of me requesting it to be shipped to them. None. Zero.
Wait, what? But, I called! He took down my phone number, said it would take about a week...! How could this happen?! My passport hasn't moved!
It was time for plan B. Drive to the Passport Office with a reapplication, new pictures, new signatures, new proof of citizenships... and a declaration of lost or stolen travel document. It was the worst feeling ever, going to the counter and explaining "Yeah, my passport is somewhere in your warehouse, and I need a passport for this Monday. Let's cancel that one and make a new one. Urgent."
Thankfully, I had the kindest people help me out. They ordered the shipment of my passport to their office ASAP, and held onto my application. "If your passport doesn't arrive tomorrow in the mail, we'll process the urgent application. We'll make sure you have something before you go." Phew! It was a relief.
Strangely, luck was on my side.
I got a call only two hours later. My passport? It arrived.
Wait. What? My passport arrived? How di-- oh. Seems it WAS shipped out on Monday when I called last Friday. Their call centre just isn't capable of keeping notes of their actions, and they didn't know. What a blessing. I returned to the Passport Office, today, and picked up my passport.
I now can go on my trip. Success!
Thankfully, it worked out in the end.