When applied for a Fulbright, I didn’t have a Passport. When I was notified that I had recieved the grant, I didn’t have a passport. So the first thing I did to get ready to go overseas was, appropriately, go down to the post office and apply for one. I paid for the expedited service, which was not money well spent. I’m sure you’ll understand why.
About two weeks after I should have gotten my passport, I got everything returned to me: I’d been denied a passport. The first thing I did was panic. The second thing I did was call my senator’s office. The third thing I did was call the office of the guy who was actually my senator, and not the one from the next district over, who I had called in the first place.
Somewhere in the phone call process, I was told why I’d been denied a passport: I wasn’t an American citizen. Yeah, I was surprised too.
Apparently, there’s a computer somewhere that truncates the names of where people are born. Either that, or someone who uses a computer somewhere isn’t very good at it. They’d entered my birthplace as the town of Madison, in Jefferson county, INDIA. For the record, it’s Indiana. The state. Not India, the country.
I was able to appeal the process, however, and mailed them every possible peice of information I could. Birth certificate (again), data from where I go to school, baptismal certificate, a picture of me from the newspaper, printouts from the departmental website, on and on and on. Eventually I got my passport.
I hope someone was making fun of me when they told me I’d been born in India. It’s actually less disturbing for me to think that maybe they just deny applications to anyone that wants to go to an Arab country and then see what happens during the appeals process.