Needed to get to Estonia in a hurry due to an emergency. So I made an appointment in late March for the San Francisco Passport Agency to apply for expedited passport service. Appointments are available “if you are traveling internationally in less than 2 weeks or need to obtain a foreign visa within 4 weeks, you are eligible to schedule an appointment at this passport agency with proof of international travel.” (from the passport agency website). However…i was afraid that I would have a problem.
In December of 2015, the FAST ACT came into law. This was created for long term funding for transportation projects. Section 32101 of the “FAST ACT” requires the IRS to notify the State Department if someone is “extremely delinquent” with their taxes.
Subchapter D of chapter 75 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by adding at the end the following new section: ``SEC. 7345. <<NOTE: 26 USC 7345 note.>> REVOCATION OR DENIAL OF PASSPORT IN CASE OF CERTAIN TAX DELINQUENCIES.
I was one of those who were extremely delinquent. The IRS doesn’t mess with passports and the State Department doesn’t mess with taxes, however the Fast Act allowed these two agencies to communicate with each other for this specific purpose.
Due to the fact that my travel date was fast approaching, there was no way for me to find out if I could get a passport or not. I just had to make the appointment, gather the necessary documents and show up, pay the fee and hope for the best.
One of the requirements for expedited passports is that you need your travel itinerary and flight tickets on hand. Round trip tickets to Estonia aren’t very cheap so it was quite a gamble. Either I show up with all documents and tickets paid for in hand and I get a passport or I show up with all documents and tickets paid for and I am denied. Then I would be holding non-refundable airline tickets and would have basically wasted about $1,500 dollars.
There were many poor souls without appointments just sitting there with their whole families. It was only 8:00 am and they all looked very tired and irritated. The appointment line moved very fast and when I provided the documents and paid the fee, the lady said I’d have my passport in about 5 to 7 business days!!
Checked the mail every day…finally it came!