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As many of you may or may not know my office has been taking US passport renewals personally to the consulate in Guadalajara due to the payment issue as they cannot accept cash when they visit Chapala so people have not been able to turn in their renewals to the consulate when they visit the area. When I went today they said that they will probably not come in August due to their inability to provide services as there is no way for them to receive payment after CI Bank stopped issuing US Dollar checks and they cannot accept cash or credit cards when they visit the Chapala area. As the issue of how they can receive payment is not resolved there is doubt about when future visits will resume until the issue is resolved. People who have passports expiring soon will need to go personally to the consulate to present their renewal or have our office do it and you or we can pay cash in US Dollars or Mexican pesos (if you go personally you can pay by credit card). Then the next issue is receiving the passport. Previously we had turned in renewals and had them flagged to be brought to Chapala / Ajijic on the next visit. As the "next" visit has not been defined people will need to personally pick up their passports at the US Consulate in Guadalajara, pay for Fedex to deliver it to their home, or contact the consulate and authorize me to pick it up when I do my weekly visit there. Today they were quoting turn around times of 6 to 8 weeks but also said that most come back in 3 to 4 weeks. People were asking about emergency passports and that is by appointment only and only for life and death matters so please plan your travel accordingly.
US Passport and US Tourist Visa Issues Currently the US government has an issue worldwide with its computer systems and this is slowing down the time for renewing US Passports and visas outside the US. Visa applicants who applied prior to June 9, 2015 seem to be ok but those who applied on or after that date have had their appointments cancelled and the following email has been sent out: " The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs is currently experiencing technical problems with visa systems. This issue is not specific to any particular country or visa category. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working urgently to correct the problem and restore full operability. U.S. Embassies/Consulates are currently unable to process new applications submitted on or after June 9, 2015. Nonimmigrant visa applications who submitted their DS-160 online application prior to June 9, 2015, should plan to attend their scheduled appointment. If you submitted your DS-160 online application on or after June 9, 2015, please reschedule your interview appointment by following the instructions located on www.usvisa-info.com Individuals with urgent travel should follow the instructions for expedited emergency appointment found on: www.usvisa-info.com Sincerely, The Visa Information Service" Lake Chapala area residents have also experienced issues for passport renewals starting with the bank who would issue US Dollar checks for renewals losing their agreement with their partner US bank to do so making it impossible to pay for passport renewals when the consulate does their monthly visits to the Lake Chapala area. The only way to renew is to pay in cash at the consulate. They have also said that they may not come in July although nothing is confirmed yet. Current turnaround times quoted on the State Department´s web site have gone up to 4-6 weeks for regular passports and 8 business days for expedited (these used to be done in a day or two). My office offers the service of turning in passport applications at the consulate in Guadalajara (being able to pay with cash in Mexican pesos or US dollars) and giving instructions to bring the passports to the applicants on their next trip to the Lake Chapala area. The best advice is to renew your passport now if it will expire in the next 8 or 9 months as it may take a month or two to get it back to you and many countries want to see 6 months remaining when you enter. This is also good if you plan to travel this summer. The original news releases can be found at the following links for passports and visas http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/passports.html http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/news/technological-systems-issue.html
Hi, I spoke to the US Consulate when they came today and there is currently no way to pay for consular services as CI Bank no longer offers checks and they do not accept cash or any other checks. They hope to have this remedied by next month. I asked and was given permission to take peoples passport renewals to the consulate in Guadalajara and turn them in there and pay cash and they could bring the renewed passport their next trip to Chapala. I am planning on going next Wednesday so if you need your passport by next month I would need your payment, photos and application as well as old passport or statement that it was lost or stolen, renewals only.