Paperwork + New Requirements = Argh!

I have searched & searched online for every possible way this family trip to Mexico can become a reality (in the cheapest way possible ) without stacking on heaps of extra flight hours or stop overs. So IMO I found a way that not even Flight Centre can beat so I called them up to get a quote.

What I wasn’t expecting was a new visa issue that unless resolved they would have to fly us around LAX through South America or Canada. This detour potentially adding on several thousands extra to our already pricey trip.
You’re sooo not gonna believe the reasons given & neither did I… hence my hours on the phone the next morning having the god awful task of trying to speak with an actual consultant in the American embassy & not a computer who accidentally hangs up on you!

Here’s the reason… apparently you can no longer switch planes in the States to the Caribbean, Mexico or Canada on the visa waiver program which is automatically a 90 day permit. If you go to any one of the afore mentioned areas for longer than the 90 days allotted EVEN if you stamped out to an international country you will have issues on your return flight even if you’re just in the airport on transit & will be held for questioning.

Are you for real?! Ok, so taking this ridiculous law into account we calculated the price of visas to the new flight plan around the States. In the end visas are the cheaper option although alot more paperwork.

So many options for each of us. Trying to keep up!

So many different options for each of us. Trying to keep up!

I have American citizenship but its my maiden name on the passport. So now I have to apply for a new one under my married name & then I can apply for visitor visas for my Australian children which we just found out that being under 14 we don’t have to apply in person & it can all be done in the mail. One less expense.

Fast forward to being a small town & not many people are qualified to take an American sized passport or visa photo we face our next hurdle of phone calls & being put on hold with them trying to assist me but quite confused. Finally.. we have success! The kids & I arrive at the post office in town to get the pics taken but more confusion on size which means me having to pull out my phone & their measuring tape to figure it all out.
After many hours.. dashes in the rain kidlets in tow we have sent off just ONE required form…. if it gets returned as we hope than the next phase of our plan comes into play… the kids visitor visas.. yay! … I think.

UPDATE September 2013:

My new passport arrived, but guess what? They misspelled my name! More stamps, envelopes, calls & line ups at the post office. Not thrilled to say the least.

I also communicated again with the American embassy about which out of the three visa options would be best to suit our situation & have decided to go with a basic transit visa for the kids. We had to go into to town to the ONE spot that takes the required photos, scan & upload them & fill out the forms online. Still waiting to hear back.. the cost for a one day transit visa for two kids comes to a whopping $352 Aussie bucks!  OUCH.

Its times like these that Yoga comes in handy.

Its times like these that Yoga comes in handy.

 Does paperwork do your head in? Its one of the annoying downsides to travel isn’t it?!


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Amber Luna

I'm a long term traveller, dedicated mum of 2 & passionate about living life full of adventure. I love living my dreams & helping others live theirs as well. I hope you enjoy our informative journey!

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  1. E. Adair Boder says:

    Unbefuckinglievable! 21st century travel – getting more complicated and difficult with each passing year! Fingers crossed for you!

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