By Robert Hill from the October 2011 Edition
I just returned from the U.S. Consulate in Guadalajara where I renewed my Passport for another 10 years, following is a summary of my experience.
I first went online to www.travel.state.gov for general information, then to the Guadalajara Consulate office at http://guadalajara.usconsulate.gov/
There I found the site for making an appointment, and made one for the first available day, in 13 days. I printed out this one page appointment sheet as instructed. I went to the Application section and read the 4 pages of instructions, prior to completing the 2 page Application. You are instructed to check “first time passport” even if it is for a renewal.
I completed the Application and printed it out. The program would not allow you to print it unless/until all of the boxes had been filled in correctly. As instructed, I signed page 1 of the Application and stapled one of the 2 photographs required, in the box shown. The photos must be 2″ X 2″, in color, front view, with the head being 1 3/8″ in height. I had a friend take several shots with my digital camera and it was quite easy to select and crop one, print them, and then cut to the right dimensions. I now had everything needed and was ready for my appointment:
1. My old Passport
2. Appointment sheet
3. Application (2 pages)
4. 2 photos
5. My Social Security Card
I also took my Birth Certificate but it was not required
I arrived at the Consulate for my 0800 appointment and found about 15 people outside in the line ahead of me. Security checked my appointment sheet against their master list, then I went through an X- ray booth similar to what you find at airports. It is best to leave everything except the papers you need in your car or at the hotel, as security will not allow anything else inside. There is a small business across the street where you can check your belongings for a small fee, if necessary. Once inside I took a number and waited about 20 minutes for my turn at one of the windows. All of my documents were in order, so I paid the US $110 fee, which can be paid with a credit card, pesos or US dollars. I was also required to prepay $122 pesos for Multi Pack to deliver my new Passport to my home. The whole process took less than an hour and went very smoothly. I was assured that my new Passport would be delivered to my home within 2 weeks. Expedited service is also available for an additional charge, if your Passport is required in less than the normal 2 weeks.
I opted to take the bus from Manzanillo (ETN is the best and costs $650 pesos round trip). Get off at the first stop in Guadalajara, called the Periferico. It is a 20 minute taxi ride from there to the Consulate ($70 pesos). I travelled on Sunday, preceding my 0800 appointment Monday AM, and found a neat little Hotelito about 10 blocks from the Consulate, located in the Centro district. I stayed at the Hotel La Paz (Av. La Paz No. 1091 – (33) 3613-30-07) and opted for their best room ($370 pesos). It was nicely decorated in Colonial style, with A/C, phones, TV, room service, and was super clean. 5 blocks from it was one of the finest restaurants in the Historical Centro district, serving authentic Mexican dishes in a delightful setting. Called the Birriaria de las Esquinas, it is on Av. Colón, 3 blocks from Av. La Paz. I had Cocinitas Pibil (pork chunks cooked in a red chile sauce) with rice and beans, for $110 pesos.
All in all it was a delightful and inexpensive trip, and with a hassle-free bureaucracy!
Mexican Trivia, by Linda Breun
Mexico City is sinking at a rate of 6 to 8 inches a year because it’s built on top of an underground reservoir. Wells are drawing out more and more water for the city’s growing population of more than 15 million people.