Wednesday, August 19, 2009

US Consulate in Toronto Cuts Back Again

I've lived in Canada since 1990 (not counting our sabbaticals). As an American citizen living in Canada, I occasionally have to consult the American Consulate in Toronto - for example, to renew a passport - and over the past 19 years, the service has gotten steadily worse... and worse.

It used to be you could call and actually reach a human to ask a question - no longer. Now you're stuck with the information provided on the Internet (which is often out of date, incorrect, or loaded with broken links).

It used to be you could show up at the Consulate in person without any advance notice and get your business done. But not any longer. I just got e-mail from the Consulate saying "an appointment will be required for all services at the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto".

The last trip we made to the Consulate to get US passports for our kids took up the whole morning. First, we were forced to go all the way back to our car (parked blocks away) because they would not allow us to take our cell phones in. The final indignity was that they would not even pay to mail the passports to us; we had to go out of the consulate and across the street and provide the Consulate with self-addressed express mail envelopes (a requirement not mentioned anywhere in any of the application forms).

The Consulate General is supposed to represent the interests of US citizens living abroad. At least in Toronto, they're doing a really poor job of it.


Tony McManus said...

I get a knot in my guts every time I think about, hear about or see that building. I have had four US visas issued there and every time the process has been demeaning, outrageously convoluted and incredibly expensive- oh, yeah and they change the process every few weeks it seems. As a non American I am now no longer allowed to use the front door!
I'll stop while I'm calm....

Unknown said...

In a strange way, I'm gratified to read that US Immigration's poor treatment is not limited to non-US citizens.

Gerry said...

The part about needing an appointment to enter the US Consulate is also the way they started doing it in Sydney, Australia, a couple of years ago.