11 passport centers are reopening, but you’ll still have to wait on your application
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Home-weary travelers, rejoice: Your local passport agencies and centers are coming out of quarantine.
The State Department announced this week that 11 passport agencies and centers will reopen Thursday, June 11, under Phase One of the agency’s three-phase reopening plan.
The 11 centers that are reopening include:
- Arkansas Passport Center
- Buffalo Passport Agency
- Chicago Passport Agency
- Colorado Passport Agency
- Connecticut Passport Agency
- Detroit Passport Agency
- Minneapolis Passport Agency
- National Passport Center
- New Orleans Passport Center
- New York Passport Agency
- Philadelphia Passport Agency
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can just march in to one of these centers and walk back out with a passport. During Phase One of reopening, priority will still be given to travelers who need a passport within the next 72 hours for a life-or-death emergency only. Applicants must make a confirmed appointment, and must wear cloth face coverings in all common areas, including the lobby, and observe strict social distancing.
Employees will also be phased back in to work on a limited number basis, primarily to process the existing backlog of passport applications that the agency has already received.
2020 has been a rough year for just about everyone on the planet, and travelers needing new or renewed passports have been no exception. The agency has been on lockdown since mid-March, with extremely limited services available to travelers with extreme emergencies only. Meanwhile, partner agencies offering expedited passport services have also been placed on hold.
So what does this reopening mean for travelers, really? David Pacella, Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships at RushMyPassport.com, weighed in for TPG.
“Phase one is a step in the right direction,” Pacell told TPG. “Travelers have been anxiously waiting on their passports, many applicants have been waiting several weeks or more and the passport status check offers limited updates. Passports are processed on a first come first serve basis, so the applicants that applied early will be grateful they did. The good news is your documents and passports are safe and secure at the passport agency. Safety continues to be the top priority and our team is grateful that the Department of State is opening up with a phased approach. We hear from hundreds of travelers every day and the consensus is pretty clear: The public is ready to travel again soon.”
Featured photo by Shutterstock.
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