After you apply for your new passport, all that’s left is the waiting. If you requested regular service, that’s about six weeks of checking the mail obsessively for an envelope from the State Department.

Passports are sent back via regular mail with a tracking number, but you don’t have to sign for it. So, if you’re not home when it’s delivered, there’s usually not a problem…unless, of course, someone goes through your mailbox.

That’s what Snehlata Oberoi of San Francisco believes happened to her brand-new passport. Ms. Oberoi recently became a US citizen, and one of the first things she did was to apply for a US passport. Unfortunately, Ms. Oberoi told her local ABC affiliate, it never arrived. When she checked with the State Department, though, they told her it had been delivered and gave her a tracking number.

She said:

“So I looked up the tracking number online; it said your item was delivered at 11:15 on June 17 in San Francisco…I just want to know where my passport is, who is in possession of my passport, it’s like identity theft.”

Concerned that her stolen passport could be used for fraud by someone looking to use her identity for their own nefarious purposes, Ms. Oberoi would like to propose a solution to the Department of State:

“It’s a very secure document that needs to be sent in a secure fashion; it should always be sent with signature required on delivery,” she said.

But should it? In a response to the local ABC station Ms. Oberoi went to for help, the department noted that “generally, the Office of Passport Services does not require signatures for the delivery of passports, and millions of passports are delivered every year without incident.”

If your passport gets lost in the mail (or in the mailbox, as the case may be), you can contact the National Passport Center to report it lost and have it canceled. Then, it can never be used for international travel (though any time a document with that much personal information on it goes missing, it’s healthy to be concerned). Then, you can order another new passport to be delivered in as little as two to three weeks – see Passport Replacement Services for details on what’s needed.

If signatures were required for delivery, collecting your passport would be an extra hassle for people who work during the day, and who most likely wouldn’t be home when the passport is delivered. They would have to make a special trip to the local post office.

So, what do you think? Is the extra security of requiring a signature worth the potential inconvenience? Let us know in the comments!

Remember, if you need your passport in a hurry, RushMyPassport is the easiest way to get your new passport application processed quickly, often in as little as 24 hours, with no need to make an appointment or wait in line at a passport agency office. Contact us today!