News 12 at 6, June 27, 2007
Augusta--The new passport requirements have been causing headaches for people around the country.
For one Augusta woman, the requirements not only cost her more than a thousand dollars, it almost cost her a long-awaited family trip.
The new passport regulations were designed in a post 9-11 mindset to keep the country safe.
But some say the regulations were put into effect too fast and are hindering more than helping.
Kathleen Perkins is thankful to be home with a lot of souvenirs from Jamaica, because she almost didn't have the chance to buy any.
Kathleen and her family just got back from the Caribbean island. It was a vacation she nearly missed.
She got her application in for her passport 3 months before her trip.
"They said it would take 8 to 10 weeks." she said.
Those 8 to 10 weeks passed by and soon the day of her trip came up. She still had no passport.
She decided to drive from Augusta to Atlanta to drop off family at the airport, then she flew from Atlanta to New Orleans to pick up her passport in person and then flew right back to Atlanta.
12 On Your Side: "How much did you spend just to get on your trip?
Kathleen: "In total about $1200."
To make things even worse, when she got back to Atlanta, she heard that many passport requirements were being temporarily waived.
"Then I hear later, it was waived all together until September 23rd." she said.
Meaning she didn't have to spend that $1200.
A Spokesperson for Congressman John Barrow says the government implemented the new regulations requiring everyone to have a passport without putting the money and staffing in to make it work.
The spokesperson also says passports have become the number one casework issue for the office.
And he says until the system is fixed, there will be plenty more stories like Kathleen's.
"If i had to do it again, yes i would." she said.
The passport requirements are being waived right now until September as long as you can prove you have applied for one.
But Congressman Barrow's office says there are no guarantees that the system will be fixed by the time September rolls around.
Either way, you should submit your application at least 3 months before your trip is scheduled.
If you haven't received it when your trip is less than 2 weeks out, you can call 1-877-487-2778 or you can go to http://travel.State.Gov/passport/passport_1738.html.