Author: Colleen

When you relocate to another country, one of the essential facts you need to know right away is the location and contact information of the U.S. embassy in your new city.  In London, the U.S. Embassy is located at 5 Upper Grosvenor Street, just East of Hyde Park and a few minutes’ walk from either the Marble Arch or Bond Street Underground stations.

Hopefully, you will never be in a situation warranting a visit there, and I don’t just mean because its 1960s-esque bureaucratic setting (a glorified post-office, if you will) might kill off a tiny piece of your soul the longer you dwell in it.  Losing a passport/visa can be a nightmare, but because it can happen, be aware.  I’ve been in this predicament recently, and this is what I learned in a nutshell:

– Visit the Embassy website under American Citizen Services.  Here, you can schedule an appointment (if you call by phone and finally get through to someone after a long wait, they’ll probably just redirect you to the website anyway, so cut out the middle man).

– HOWEVER, the soonest appointment I was able to get was one month away, so, like a sap, I waited.  On my actual appointment day, I ended up waiting amid others sharing a similar plight (the bonding-through-empathy experience is really quite nice there) only to learn they had just recently lost their passports and simply walked in and took a number.  Granted, they were in more dire need at the time, so in cases of emergency (that you can prove), you should be able to get an appointment immediately.

– At any rate, when you approach the Embassy, you’ll likely see a queue on the front sidewalk similar to one you’d wind around in at an amusement park where officials check your requisite documentation (photo ID, appointment confirmation, birth certificate, etc.) before sending you through security just like at the airport.

I can gladly say that, once inside the building, everyone on the staff there with whom I interacted was personable enough and the process really did move along relatively quickly.  Cost of replacement was approx. $100, and I had my new passport mailed to me within 2 weeks.  Join me tomorrow as I continue the saga…