Two months after mailing my passport renewal application to the State Department, I received my brand spanking new passport in the mail last Saturday.
If you're a terrorist or intent on forging your way into the US, stop reading now!
I was surprised to find little had changed with the design. My photo was apparently scanned, then printed on the page (vs. laminating it down), and plastered with a watermark so you can barely see my baby blue eyes. Countless border agents worldwide are going to lose out as a result!
I get a new passport number with the renewal. I remember a Brit in Guatemala last year pointed out to me, as I took out my passport to sign into a hostel, not knowing one's passport number by heart brands a novice backpacker! What-ever. You should see the retarded number of username/password combinations I have to recall each day at work – let alone personal bank accounts and web site stuff. It's ridiculous.
I noticed there were no microchips implanted in it, unless it is so thin I don't know it's there. And it still seemed a few pages too short. I hope to fill the sucker up in 2008!
Apparently, I was a tad lucky, as there are people waiting a lot longer than me due to the recent changes in passport policies affecting Americans going to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.