Then at the end of March, I was invited to go to a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya in early May. In order to get the Kenyan visa (fortunately, a relatively painless, online procedure once you have all the required documents lined up), my passport needed to have at least six months’ validity – which it no longer had! So I went to my April 12 appointment and begged them to issue me an emergency passport so that I could get my Kenyan visa and then with that secured, book my flight to Africa.
I was very grateful that they did in fact issue me a same-day passport good for one year. Since it is only good for one year, the consular staff recommended that upon my return I come back to exchange it for the long term passport. With some trepidation I asked if I would need to make a new appointment or could I just come in. Nope, no drop-in’s – I would need an appointment. When I told the woman behind the counter how difficult it had been to get the current appointment she told me – “Oh, you just need to keep checking. We are always opening up more appointments along the way. If you had done that, I’m sure you would have gotten a much sooner date than April.”
So there you go – if you need an appointment at the US Consulate – just keep checking and you will find a closer date! I actually tested the system a few weeks ago and different dates did keep opening up each time I looked. The only challenge there is that you can’t make a new appointment until you cancel any that you already have…a bit of a Catch 22…