my new ultra-mini passport


I now have an ultra-thin passport, but 36 hours ago I had a really fat one.


12.12.12 @ 7 am on a train to Beijing: I decided to go to the squatty potty to try to save time before arriving to the train station, and when I stood up I heard the most dreadful of noises…something hit the toilet…out of my pocket. One of the clearest moments that will be seared into my brain forever was the sight of my passport fitting perfectly into the hole of the squatty and sliding perfectly down the pipe. There was a glimmer of hope as it stopped for second. I could see the top of my passport! I tried to quickly reach down the nasty pipe to grab it to only watch it fall onto the train tracks. My brain screamed “NNNNOOOOOOO!” at a pitch that burst my inner ear, and panic ensued. “What do I do?” and “You stupid idiot!” is all that went thru my head. I then burst out of the restroom to find someone who could help, but by the time I found someone we were a long way down the track. My poor passport was stuck in the snow all cold and frozen and laden in feces. So sad. L


What further complicated the issue was that I was on my way to Beijing…I was not going home. We were supposed to come back on the same day, so how could I possibly get my ticket to get home where all of my paperwork and family is!?! We arrived in BJ, and worked with lots of nice train officials to get me a return ticket and worked out a “grey” system to get me back on the train. We went to our meetings and managed to get back on the next train with a print-out of my passport. We arrived home at 11:30 the same night.


12.13.12 @ 7 am in my bed: I knew that the day would probably be dreadful as I worked to try to find out what “step 1” was in getting a new passport and visa.


8:30 am – 11:15 am: I traveled to 6 different police stations throughout the city. The trip included walking through the underground construction site that is the train station. I got to go thru and see half constructed strange tunnels, concrete projects and unbelievably deep trenches to get to the office I needed to be in. Each trip to each office was spattered with grumbling and occasional fits of anger. Arggghhh.


11:15 am: I finally found a friendly officer with a smile (a very good sign in this society) and explained my situation. She ended up filling the form out for me, but at a cost. The entire police station found my story so humorous that I had to explain the story to all 15 officers before they’d fill the form out. The biggest discussion was how to describe a squatty potty on a train. They had to go find a plumber at the local construction site to get them to say what the official word is for a train squatty. That was a vocabulary word that I never thought that I’d need to know. J


1 PM: The officers get back from lunch and I arrived at the Exit/Entry Bureau (出入境公安局) to get me newly stamped police written letter authenticated. The officer said that it would take 3-5 days due to the number of signatures needed, and I explained my situation. She then called her supervisor to find that all of her supervisors were meeting together, so she was able to get all of their signatures all at once and give me the approval on the spot!

3PM: I arrived at the US Consulate and explained my situation. A new passport would take 2 weeks, but I need to travel then. They then offered a 3 month temporary passport, but that would do me little good. They met and offered me a 1 year temporary passport! The best news is that they gave it to me on the spot! So instead of the 13-15 business days necessary to get a passport and I got it in 1! I still have to apply for my resident permit, but now I have time to get that done. The new passport is kind of funny. It has 2 pages for visas and is super thin…it kind of feels more like a toy.


12.13.12 @ 5 PM: I arrived home with my ultra-thin passport! That’s how my super fat passport filled with cool visas and stamps got replaced with my super-thin perfectly clean new one.


If you lose your passport while in China, here are the steps I had to take:


  1. Don’t lose your passport! J But I didn’t obey this step, so I had to proceed to step 2.
  2. Always have a copy (both electronic and paper) of your front page of your passport, current visa and entry date stamp. You’ll need at least 2 of these.
  3. Have copies of birth certificates, driver’s license (or any other gov’t issued document with photo), & marriage license (if necessary), and local police station’s registration form.
  4. Find an officer to fill out the 报警情况登记表 to report the loss.
  5. Take that form with you to the出入境公安局 to get it authenticated.
  6. Make an appointment at the US consulate Citizen Services Section online.
  7. Fill out forms DS-11, and DS-64 with a passport photo.
  8. Take the following documents with you to the consulate:
    1. authenticated report of loss form
    2. copies of original passport and visa
    3. copy of birth certificate and other related documentation
    4. copy of gov’t issued photo id and original if possible. (I used my Chinese driver’s license)
    5. filled out DS-11 and DS-64 forms and a passport photo
    6. money (currently , the passport cost $135.)
    7. Any other paper work that might help convince the staff that you are who you say you are.
  9. When you are done, get the original authenticated report of loss form with you, b/c you will need it to re-apply for you visa.
  10. Some of this information can be found at …

5 thoughts on “my new ultra-mini passport

  1. You guys have the most interesting experiences…I know at the time they’re not fun….but it sure is funny to read about later!

    Jen (and Tommy)

  2. What a little adventure! While it is humorous reading about it, I can imagine the frustration of living it. Through it all, it sounds like many things worked out in your favor.

  3. DUDE!! That was awesome. It is sad that I can see ALL of that happening. From the drop to the ‘This can’t be done today!’ I will definitely keep this on my phone so that I know what to do, just in case!! Its too bad most people don’t know what the ‘train squatty’s are like’. Blessings.

  4. I knew you lost your passport, but the story behind it gave me a laugh…well at least the losing part. 🙂 Now I see why that Thursday was so crazy! Wow!! So thankful Father worked out all the details!

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