“I’m sorry, mam, there’s nothing I can do if you’ve been rejected. You will have to start the application process over.” It was the fourth time the disembodied voice had repeated the word rejected. I felt like crying or maybe screaming.

“Sir, I need to know where my passport is.”

“Mam, what would you like me to do? I cannot help you. We have no record of receiving your passport.”


I’d begun the unpleasant process of applying for a US Tax Number in January. Why? Not because I made millions selling my novel. Matt needed a dependent for his US return and I was happy enough to oblige as he supports my soap opera watching and bonbon eating anyway. The first step was to apply for a ten year Canadian passport and then to apply for a copy of the passport and forward it to the American Internal Revenue Service. Four months later my first rejection notice informed me I’d neglected to sign the passport before it was copied.

A still, small voice told me not to put my actual passport into the official IRS return envelope. The same voice told me not to send it - unregistered.  Of course I didn’t listen; it would cost twenty dollars more. At the end of June, I received my second rejection notice for not supplying sufficient documentation, thus the above heartbreaking conversation with an agent.

Last week, I began the process all over again. The Edmonton passport office held hundreds of applicants because of the possible mail strike. The three-hour wait and the $210 price tag taught me to NOT send my passport, unregistered, ever, again.

You’ll be happy to know my US Tax Number arrived two days ago. I guess I wasn’t rejected after all.


“Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (Matt. 6:3b)