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Passport times

I need a new passport. Pages running out so I have come to the US embassy in Hanoi. It’s not far from my place but being the lazy guy I am I took a grab car here for about $1 USD. I honestly don’t understand why more people don’t use grab. Much better than taxis. You know the route and cost up front and you can follow along in real time.

Now I sit in a nearby coffee shop waiting for 1pm to come. The embassy requires a few things to get a new passport:

  1. Printed out PDF forms of the form. The form can be filled out online and then saved off and printed. Don’t sign the form before.
  2. One 2x2 photo of your mug. You might as well get them cheap online and then printed like at Walgreens or find photo shop here. I did mine when I visited the US.
  3. Your original passport. Mine has an active visa for Vietnam and it’s not expired. I get it back. It will take 2 weeks to get new one with more pages. I will then have two passports for 10 months.
  4. Money! You must pay a variable amount. Mine is $110. You can pay in USD or use VND or card.

Here’s my chief gripes. Instead of merely adding pages which would be ideal and mean I would only have one passport I cannot do that any more. Pain in the butt. There is no way to do this online. Why? Why is the US so backwards. We should be able to login to the US embassy in Vietnam, upload the stuff, use a debit card and be done. Instead we print and copy, journey to embassy and wait for whatever time it takes. For those retired and living like me in Southeast Asia there is no alternative. I could not have done this when I was back. Too little time.

I am hoping one more trip to get passport in two weeks is it. I love the US. I just would like some kind of modern interface for people living their lives somewhere else. By contrast day by day life in Southeast Asia is a breeze. It’s all simple. You don’t need to read the language or speak it. In Taiwan you can just about do everything online. Retirees are prisoners of systems not designed for them especially living in another country.

So true,

same same but different

End of rant. Time to get in the que.

Wish me luck 🤪

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