Norwalk CT Passport Office – Getting a Same Day Passport

by on December 18, 2010 at 11:03 pm

After exceeding 150 comments on post detailing my original experience getting a same day passport, I decided to go through the comments and separate the experiences and helpful tips by passport office.

These comments and tips were related to people’s experiences at the Norwalk Passport Office.

From Garrett:

Bless Dave and all that have posted on this topic. At 12:15 a.m., early this morning (a Thursday), we discovered that our five year-old daughter’s passport had expired; we are scheduled to fly to Jamaica on Saturday morning, so we have two days to fix the problem.

We called the automated passport appointment system and could not get an appointment for our local office (Norwalk, CT) until Monday morning — too late. I hit the Internet and found this blog, which suggested that we try showing up without an appointment. My wife filled out the necessary forms and got minimal sleep as I searched the ‘net for more options.

We rousted our girls out of bed early, got passport pictures at Kinko’s (based on the suggestions made here) and showed up at Norwalk an hour before the 9 am opening time. It was a good sign that the security guard put out two signs, one that designated a line for people with appointments and one for people without. If the office was not going to let in folks without an appointment, why have a line for this purpose?

We were first in the non-appointment line. The office opened at 8:45 and the guards let in everyone with an appointment, regardless of the time. So, there was a time at about 9:35 when the only people entering the building were folks with 10:00 and 10:30 appointments. The guards let them in before us, even though we would not have delayed them beyond their appointment time. The guards’ attitude was that people who were organized should have a preference. You got the sense that the guards saw the appointment getters as rule followers and those who did not have them as disorganized — a perspective that was . . . fair and on target, I’m embarrassed to admit.

Finally, we got let in at about 10:15, my wife waited in line for preliminary processing (a check to see that we had all the necessary documents), then sat with a group in a DMV-like seating area. She was called for the renewal transaction and we were done at about 11:30. We have to pick up the passport tomorrow at 12:15; we were not entitled to same-day processing because our flights were more than 24 hours away. Annoying, but we will be able to travel.

The lessons we learned:

- Never be in this situation again; renew well before a trip;
- Deal with the fact that folks with appointments will get preference over you, even if they show up ridiculously early for their appointments;
- It is possible to get a passport on an expedited basis without an appointment, you just have to be patient and understanding of the pecking order;
- Respect the staff that work at the office. They have a process for dealing with chaos and folks in stressful spots. Even if their approaches regarding who gets admitted first may appear heavy-handed, they truly want to help people make their trips.
- Have all your documents completed before you get to the office, it can let you leap ahead of those who have entered the building before you.

Thanks to Dave Naffziger and all who posted; you saved our vacation.

If you have had an experience at the Norwalk passport office, please share it below. This tremendously helps future readers!

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