Passport processed at embassy

This item appears on page 11 of the May 2008 issue.

I read how you could get additional blank pages into inserted in your U.S. passport (termed a “passport amendment”) at a U.S. Embassy (Aug.’07, pg. 34). After several years of international travel, my wife and I were running out of blank passport pages. We didn’t like the thought of mailing our passports to the backlogged passport processors at the State Department and then waiting for several weeks, so an embassy visit sounded like a good idea. During our February ’08 visit to Italy we finally had our opportunity; Rome’s U.S. Embassy was only a 10-minute walk from our hotel.

We dropped by the embassy unannounced late on a Friday morning. (According to the embassy’s website,, advance appointments now are required for nonemergency services.) After a brief conversation with the entrance guards, Italian police officers with a somewhat limited command of English, we passed through the security check and were admitted. As we walked to the embassy’s Citizen Services office, we braced ourselves for an unpleasant experience akin to a visit to the DMV.

Were we surprised!? We were promptly greeted by a very friendly young lady who politely and patiently explained the procedure, gave us the required forms and answered our questions. We turned in the completed forms along with our passports, waited a few minutes and, after we were interviewed by a friendly and interesting retired military gentlemen, had our newly amended passports returned.

There was no charge. (If there had been, we could have charged it to a credit card.)

While waiting, we spoke with two other workers, both Italian, who were equally friendly, spoke excellent English and were quite helpful. We were out in under an hour.

I’ve been to a few government offices in my time and have never had such a positive experience. It would be interesting to hear from others who have done this to learn if our experience was anywhere near typical. Based upon our experience, I might conjecture that anyone who needs a passport amended would do well to visit an embassy at the next opportunity.


Charlotte, NC