A Milton, Ontario family’s long-awaited safari trip to Kenya has turned into a race against time due to the immense delays in passport processing.
The $35,000 trip was a special gift by the family’s world-traveling grandfather in 2019, and due to the pandemic, the trip was put on hold until this year. The idea was to send his only two grandchildren on an adventure of a lifetime, a 14-day safari experience in Kenya.
Daily Hive sat down to speak to Tammy Glendinning, the mother of two teenaged boys, who did everything in her power to make this dream trip happen, despite the complications that arose.
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When Glendinning began to plan the trip prior to the pandemic, everything was in order to jet off as planned. When it was time to finally plan the vacation once travel restrictions lifted, things didn’t get easier. Her boys’ passports had expired and it was time to enter the grueling queues of passport processing.
Upon arrival at a Mississauga passport office in April, she was advised that unless she was travelling within the next 14 days, there would be no point in lining up. Due to the backlog of applications during the pandemic, passport officers prioritized those whose applications had been on hold.
Since the trip was still months away, Glendinning was told to mail in her passport application instead and she still hasn’t received any updates — even up until today. “I had no reason to believe I wasn’t going to get them,” she explained.
With the August 9 travel date soon approaching, Glendinning decided it was time for action. “I started to freak out,” she said, with the departure date now just weeks away.
Glendinning decided to reach out to her local MP, who escalated and transferred her file to a Kitchener passport office. “If you hadn’t had your file escalated by the MP, you wouldn’t have gotten your passports on time,” a representative from the Kitchener passport office told Glendinning.
Fortunately, this led to the news that the family had been eagerly awaiting. The boys’ passports were now ready and available for pickup on July 26.
Having reached out for an update, we can happily report that the passports were picked up. However, as per the requirements of their destination, a travel visa must be on hand, and today is the deadline to file in order to receive it on time for August 9th.
The travel visa applications are set to be filed today, and according to Glendinning, “everything should be okay!”
Daily Hive will continue to monitor this story for updates. Stay tuned.