Ron and I had no blank pages left in our passports. That’s the price one pays because of the love of travel. We had two options: either get extra passport pages in our passports before December 2015, or renew our passports.
The cost of a packet of extra pages for our passports was $82. The cost of renewing our passports and getting new ones was $110 at the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. It was a no-brainer for us and cheaper in the long-run because our passports could be renewed for ten more years.
Being curious, I wondered how our U.S. Passports are made.
How to apply for renewal of U.S. passports in Nicaragua
1.We made appointments at the U.S. Embassy in Managua to apply for new passports. Passports and Consular Reports of Birth at U.S. Embassy in Managua.
2. First, we made an appointment here: Appointment system.
Be sure to copy and print the date to take with you to the Embassy in Managua.
3.Then, we filled out the online forms to renew our passports and printed the forms.
Click on the “Complete Form Online”. Then, once printed, take them to the U.S.
Embassy in Managua.
Passport and Visa Pages Applications
4. Next, we needed photos. We followed the directions in the photo composition
template. Make sure you have a white background (we had to borrow a white sheet from our neighbor because all of our walls are vibrant colors). I won’t tell if you don’t…I photo shopped some of our wrinkles out of the photos. lol
5. Finally, we called our taxi driver to take us to Managua, took enough money out of the ATM to pay for the trip and to renew our passports…and we were off.
Our appointments were for 1:00pm. We arrived at 12:15pm and stood in the line under the awning. Know where to stand in line because the guards are very organized and they will check your appointment time and usher you into the building exactly at 1:00pm.
I only wish everyone knew how to stand in line correctly. Many people didn’t make appointments or tried to cut our line. They were politely ushered to the back of the line, or if they didn’t make appointments, they were told to leave the line and make an appointment.
Once you are called into the building, security is tight. You have to leave all cell phones and other electronic equipment in the front office. Then, your bags go through an x-ray machine and you pass through a metal detector. It is similar to an airport.
Then, you go through another waiting room with lines of long uncomfortable metal benches, where you are inspected again before they buzz you into the passport room.
Once in the passport room, you check-in and they give you a number. It’s like the meat department of a large grocery store, except that the embassy agents are behind bullet proof glass. When your number is called and flashes on a neon screen, you go to the bullet proof window and submit all your paperwork. Then, you go to the cashier’s window ( also behind a bullet proof window) and pay for your passports. Finally, you return to the embassy agent’s window, show him/her your receipt and they tell you to come back in 8-10 days for your passport. They send an email to tell you when your passport is ready.
Yesterday, exactly 8 days after we submitted our applications for our passports, we received an email that they were ready. We were supposed to arrive at 2:00pm to pick up our passports, but since we live on Ometepe Island and the last ferry leaves at 5:30pm, we were worried that we would miss the last ferry home.
However, they allowed us to arrive at 1:00pm so we could make it back to Ometepe Island the same day. They were very accommodating. 🙂 We repeated the same procedures to enter the building. Make sure you have your receipt with you to show the guards.
Overall, the entire process of renewing our U.S. passports abroad was a breeze. The most difficult thing was the travel time. Our round trip to Managua was over six hours for about 15 minutes of our time at the U.S. Embassy.
Have you applied for passports while living abroad? What was your experience like?