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Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!!
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Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 18:29:58 MST Print View

My passport is good for 5 more years, but I've run out of blank visa pages. Cost to tack on a few more blank pages? $82!!!

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
A deal on 02/28/2012 18:36:02 MST Print View

I would have sold you a few of my blank pages for half that. I guess you travel too much!

Tim Zen
(asdzxc57) - F

Locale: MI
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 18:36:03 MST Print View

You probably made up for it in frequent flyer miles.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 18:56:54 MST Print View

$82? Pfft. Just tape some extra notebook paper in there and surprise the customs officials on your next trip with your ingenuity.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 18:57:27 MST Print View

Boo freaking hoo.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 19:11:25 MST Print View

" Just tape some extra notebook paper in there and surprise the customs officials on your next trip with your ingenuity."

Can't just be blank notebook paper... everyone of those pages has to define "freedom" and incorporate different images of American patriotism! Entertaining -- but still unreasonably expensive.

This thread is, of course, a little bit tongue in cheek too -- most all of us have coughed up regularly for our government -- and in amounts vastly higher than $82. Still, for a few blank pages...

Edited by ben2world on 02/28/2012 19:17:31 MST.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
You have it wrong on 02/28/2012 19:30:37 MST Print View

It was a dollar for the pages and $81 for the little images.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 19:41:29 MST Print View

I don't know if this is still the case, but you used to be able to request a larger version with more pages in it if you expected to push the limits.

A guy who worked as a bicycle courier on Embassy Row used to look inside the packets somtimes (you're not supposed to do that) and often packet going from one embassy to another would be to request multiple visas prior to a trip. He said you could always tell the people trying to get to all the countries (188 at the time?) within one 10-year passport. They started with the extra-page version AND had lots of additional pages added.

I hate when cutoms officials in various countries stamp right in the middle of a page - a page that is clearly demarcated into 4 individual areas.

So how much of the $82 is to research you, the places you've been, and to decide if they're going let you travel so much in the future?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 20:00:32 MST Print View

"So how much of the $82 is to research you, the places you've been, and to decide if they're going let you travel so much in the future?"

The application form asks where, when and for how long I plan to travel to next. Pretty intrusive, actually.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 20:03:26 MST Print View

@David:

Collecting all the visas upfront doesn't really make sense, because many (if not most) of them are only good for a designated period (which can be as short as 30 days) before they expire!

Joe Clement
(skinewmexico) - MLife

Locale: Southwest
Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government on 02/28/2012 20:04:21 MST Print View

And you act surprised! That's so refreshing..............

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 20:05:41 MST Print View

It was a dollar for the pages and $81 for the little images.

Greg, this may sound "disrepectful" but those patriotic pages are a hoot! I've derived great pleasure showing them to foreign travelers and watching them gag! :)

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Re: Re: Just Got Robbed Today - on 02/28/2012 20:19:18 MST Print View

They probably figure if a traveler needs extra pages with all those flights, $82 won't be a problem. Got to keep all those artist employed embossing those symbols into the paper too.

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Re: Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/28/2012 20:21:22 MST Print View

The good old USA will sell you (or they used to anyway) a second passport which has more pages than an "addition" if you travel to both Saudi and Israel. Just don't forget to mail one ahead. If you carry them both when you go through Saudi immigration--doh! Or just go to Cuba and they won't stamp you at all if you ask.

Chris Jones
(NightMarcher) - F
Robbed by the Fed on 02/29/2012 08:52:30 MST Print View

Am I the only one that clicked on this thread expecting some form of a rant over government debt, stimulus, and inflation?

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/29/2012 09:31:23 MST Print View

Ben your life is so f*@king rough.

I suppose that $82 is just too much when you're paying $1,200 for a round trip international plane ticket huh? :P

Evan McCarthy
(evanrussia) - MLife

Locale: Northern Europe
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/29/2012 10:04:43 MST Print View

Heaven knows why I'm opening myself up to this right now . . . but I feel like I can at least shed some light on why the cost of adding pages to a passport is priced the way it is.

Disclaimer of Two Kinds: 1) I am a State Department Foreign Service Officer and have worked on these issues; 2) My views here represent only my understanding of the policies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of State or government as such.

Here are a few things to think about:

-In general, government operations are funded by either taxes or fees. Taxes, as you well know, are solicited broadly from the population and occasionally "charge" people for services or benefits that do not directly help them or which they do not think are useful. Fees involve funding an operation directly (and sometimes only) from those who require the services of the operation. Such is the case for consular services (including all passport services) from the U.S. Department of State. Congress refuses to pay money out of tax revenue for these services and has required that we (the State Department) fund it out of the fees.

-Thanks to the new world order of advanced biometric and other security safeguards, providing and safeguarding identity and travel documents got a lot more expensive. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this even applies to the mundane task of adding passport pages. Every time a person applies for passport pages, federal law requires a review of that person to ensure that there are no outstanding warrants or other derogatory events connected to that person. Oddly enough, even HHS uses the passport system to nab those delinquent of child support payments. I kid you not, and have seen it first hand. Before you get very upset about this, please keep in mind that the passport interaction is often the only chance overseas that the U.S. government has a chance to engage with these issues with citizens attempting to circumvent U.S. law.

-A couple years ago, the Department of State initiated an external review by a non-government organization to fully understand the costs in existing resources, developing technology, and manpower hours of highly trained personnel for all manner of activity and service provided by Foreign Service Officers. As a direct result of this study and survey, the price of additional passport pages was set as it was.

-Final note. Many consular officers like myself do not like agree with the exorbitant costs of some common services, like this one. But we implement the law as directed to us by our superiors and lawyers. And, in the end, we end up explaining a process that we do not even agree with.

You guys rock! I just wanted to give a view from the horse's mouth. Now I going to think about cuben fiber and how to buy expensive things without my wife yelling at me . . . oh, and a new kilt.

Your UL Government Bureaucrat,

Evan

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/29/2012 10:11:45 MST Print View

Did you think Government is efficient?

That is why we have multi-million dollar toilets!

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/29/2012 10:37:21 MST Print View

Evan:

Thanks for sharing... very insightful! Still hurts though... :)

Edited by ben2world on 02/29/2012 10:37:58 MST.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Just Got Robbed Today -- by My Own Government!! on 02/29/2012 10:45:37 MST Print View

Don't confuse us with the facts, Evan : )

Many people prefer to think that the government is incompetent and just wants to screw us