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In the middle of a crisis due to delays, the US offers a new way to process the passport

- July 8, 2023

First-time document applicants, among others, will have an easier way to manage it through special events held in each state

The new passport fairs will tour different US cities between July and August and will serve to streamline document management processes

The US Department of State announced that it will hold a day of special passport acceptance fairs so that applicants can process the document faster, in the midst of the crisis due to the long waits that are registered throughout that country. These events will take place in different states, although those interested will have to meet a series of characteristics.

The fairs are only for people who process the document for the first time, as well as for children, and will be in force in July and August, on different dates for each region. In the case of Americans who wish to renew it, they will have to do so by mail, through Form DS-82.

Events will be held at passport acceptance facilities, which only offer routine and expedited services, not urgent. So, in the case of those who need the document faster, they will have to attend a passport agency or center, not the fairs. A routine procedure can take from ten to 13 weeks, an expedited procedure from seven to nine and an urgent one is for those who have international trips within the next 14 days.

To find the nearest acceptance location, all you have to do is go to the website and search by zip code. “Acceptance facilities include post offices, court clerks, public libraries, and other local government offices that accept passport applications… Search by zip code, state, or state/city,” the official page describes.

Some of the fairs will require petitioners to make an appointment, but not others, it all depends on the state. In July it will be held in New Jersey, California, Massachusetts, Florida, Connecticut and Georgia. While in August only in New Jersey, as reported for now.

The State Department assured that dates would be added to the list weekly, so those interested should be aware: “See the list of upcoming events below. Expand each monthly events tab and use the search tool at the top to find an event near you.”

Demand for passports in the US

The same government organization reported at the beginning of the year that requests for passports were on the rise, since they received up to 500,000 requests per week. “We are on track to set the record for the busiest year in history, far exceeding the volumes seen during previous demand spikes in 2007 and 2017,” the agency said in a statement in March.

Therefore, Americans were urged to take precautions: “We advise all Americans to check the expiration date of their passport before making any definitive plans for international travel.”

For his part, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken remarked in the same month that the government was already making an “intense effort” to resolve the problems in passport processing. Among those efforts was the opening of satellite offices, the hiring of additional personnel and the increase in telephone lines for customer service.

Source: La Nacion