Nationwide surge impacts arrival of even expedited passports

If you want to leave the country and don’t have a passport, you may be waiting a while.
Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 7:20 AM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The urge to travel is spiking as more people get vaccinated, but if you want to leave the country and don’t have a passport, the Passport Services Office at Pima Community College’s East Campus said you may be waiting a while.

Belinda Parker, Passport Agent, said even expedited passports are taking months to process due to the demand nationwide.

“People are just ready to travel, wanting to get out there, or just be prepared for when they feel comfortable doing it,” Parker said. “We have a lot of kids coming in who are doing European trips through their schools.”

The PCC Passport Services Office has been up and running for four weeks now, following more than a year of being shut down due to COVID-19. Just last week, Parker said they received 30 applications.

Once PCC announced the services were reopening, Parker said phones were ringing all day long.

“Now we have appointments out two to three weeks in advance and one even a month in advance, so it’s really picking up,” Parker said.

In the past, the passport services were able to get passports expedited in two to three weeks. Now due to demand nationwide, those expedited passports may take three to four and a half months to arrive.

“They’re just really a hot commodity right now,” Parker said. “If you’re interested I would call and book an appointment as soon as possible.”

If you’re interested in getting a passport through PCC, you have to first call and make an appointment. Prior to your appointment, you have to make sure your passport application is filled out in black ink or you can do it on the computer and print it out.

“You need proof of citizenship, also a good picture ID, usually a driver’s license,” Parker said.

Lastly, you’ll need a check, payment order or cashier’s check made out to the U.S. Department of State for $110. It will be another $60 dollars if you want to expedite the passport. You will also need to pay PCC a $35 execution fee and a $12 picture fee.

“This is a quicker option, it really is. We have people answering the phones and if we’re working on a passport at the time we will call you back right after,” Parker said. “We can usually get them in the same week right now but I anticipate that’s going to close up as we go.”

Masks are required in the building, and appointments are required to ensure social distancing and make people feel as safe as possible.

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