The Department of State (DOS) has designated Saturday, March 27th as “Passport Day in the USA.” The DOS knows that Americans lead very busy lives and as such wanted to make the process of obtaining or renewing a U.S. passport as convenient as possible. On March 27th, all of the regional passport agencies will open to the public for extended Saturday hours. Passport seekers around the country will be able to walk into any of the passport agencies without appointments and without needing to show proof of imminent travel. Additionally, thousands of passport acceptance facilities, including those operated by the U.S Postal Service, will be open for extended hours to assist travel-hungry customers.
The first Passport Day in the USA was held last year and on that day, more than 57,000 passport applications were received nationwide. Due to the addition of new passport agencies in Detroit, MI; Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, MN; and Tucson, AZ, the DOS expects even more Americans to join in celebrating Passport Day in the USA.
Each passport facility is publishing details of their events in their local communities. Customers can find addresses of the nearest passport agency or participating passport acceptance facility on the DOS website.
The DOS Press Release also made reference to the proposed passport fee increases – total cost for a first time applicant aged 16 and older, applying for a passport book would be $135, and for those younger than 16, the price would be $105. Additionally, the cost of a passport card for a first time applicant 16 or older would run at $55 and at $40 for those younger than age 16. Passport books and cards for those aged 16 and older are valid for a period of 10 years, whereas they are only valid for a period of 5 years for those younger than 16. Currently, the public comment period for the proposed passport fee increases ends on March 11, 2010, and Brenda Sprague, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services indicated that if the fees are to be increased they would not be implemented until April with enough notice to the general public.
Accordingly, the proposed passport fee increases will not affect Passport Day in the USA this year. The current cost of a new passport book for an individual 16 or older is $100, and $85 for anyone younger than 16. The current cost to renew a passport book for an individual 16 or older is $75, and $85 for anyone younger than 16. The cost of a passport card for an applicant 16 or older is $55, and $35 for an applicant younger than 16. The current cost to renew a passport book for an individual 16 or older is $20, and $35 for anyone younger than 16.
The DOS comes from the perspective that the U.S. passport book and card are not just for travel anymore because they serve as proof of a bearer’s identity as well as of U.S. citizenship, something other portable documents do not do. Having a U.S. passport book or card means that wherever you go domestically or internationally, you can prove that you are a U.S. citizen entitled to the many benefits of U.S. Citizenship.
If you are a U.S. citizen and do not have a U.S. Passport or need to renew your passport, please visit your nearest passport agency or participating passport acceptance facility on Saturday, March 27, 2010.
Saturday, March 27, 2010 is PASSPORT DAY IN THE USA!