Get Your Passport on Saturday
The sequester has put a damper on the State Department's official 'Passport Day in the USA' event, but a number of local offices will still offer passport services this Saturday.
Saturday was supposed to be the fifth annual "Passport Day in the USA"―the only day of the year that that U.S. citizens could apply for passports directly at a passport agency without making an appointment.
The federal budget sequestration that took effect on March 1, though, put the kibosh on this year's edition.
Fortunately, most of the local agencies that were planning to offer passport services this weekend are moving forward, with or without the U.S. Department of State.
At the Jenkintown Library, passport services will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
"We're not allowed to call it 'Passport Day in the USA' anymore," librarian Bonnie Miller said.
"So we're just calling it 'Passport Day.'"
In Norristown, U.S. citizens can obtain a passport from the office of Montgomery County Prothonotary Mark Levy, who will hold special Saturday hours from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
New applicants will be able to apply for passports, including passport cards. Passport cards allow travel by land between the US, Canada and Mexico. They also allow sea travel to Bermuda and sea ports-of-call in the Caribbean, which makes them a budget option for cruise travelers and others who won’t be leaving the country by air.
Residents of western Montgomery County may want visit either the Boyertown Community Library or the Boyertown Post Office. The post office will have passport hours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., including photo services. The library will offer passport services from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but no photo services will be available.
If obtaining a passport for a child, both parents must be present.
You'll need a photo for your passport. Both CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, as well as FedEx office locations, offer passport photos that will be available for purchase in minutes. Do-it-yourselfers can use an online service such as ePassportPhoto.com.
If you have an expired passport and just need to renew it, you may not need to visit an office at all. If your expired passport is undamaged, was issued in the last 15 years, was issued in your current name, and you obtained it at age 16 or older, then you can probably renew your passport by mail.
More information on how to obtain a U.S. passport is available from the State Department's travel website, travel.state.gov.