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Ms. Harty said refunds are available on a case-by-case basis if travelers apply and would look into making refunds easier to obtain.

A refund won’t make up for the approximately 12 hours Lisa Clearwood of Middletown, Md., has spent trying to get passports for herself and her two children to visit her husband, who is stationed in Germany with the Navy.

She, too, turned to her congressman — Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Maryland Republican — to get a passport when the ones she applied for in March had not come six days before her planned departure.

“I think it’s so backlogged, the [implementation changes] aren’t affecting us yet,” she said two hours into her wait at the passport office yesterday.

Angelica Vasquez and daughter Yuriko called the process “ridiculous” as they waited to pick up their passports yesterday. On Monday, they got in line on 19th Street Northwest at 5:30 a.m. to wait for the doors to open and apply, despite applying in March.

“They weren’t prepared,” Angelica Vasquez said.