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Need a passport? Davis warns you should apply now

June 1st, 2007 12:00 am by Hank Hayes



Need a passport?


U.S. Rep. David Davis, R-Tenn., and the U.S. State Department say you should apply now.


Or maybe you should have applied yesterday or last week - or even last month.


The State Department said it set new records in March and April by issuing more than 3 million passports to Americans planning international travel.


Passport production time is now averaging 10 to 12 weeks, and the State Department is advising passport seekers to apply at least 12 weeks before they plan to travel.


"We are experiencing in our office an increase in volume of U.S. passport applications and requests," Davis, who represents Tennessee's 1st District, said in a prepared release. "On average, we receive 15 applications a month. This week, we have received more than 30 applications a day. ... Also, individuals are turning in their paperwork in the proper time but are not receiving the passports in the normal four- to six-week waiting period, causing great concern. Unfortunately, we are receiving multiple reports of people missing their cruises, honeymoons or other international travel.


"My office is prepared to assist those who have U.S. passport concerns. Please contact my office at 247-8161 for more information."


For the period from October 2006 through this April, the State Department says it issued 8.6 million passports, a 33 percent increase from the same period in the previous year and more passports than were issued in any single full year before 2003.


The State Department offers these tips to passport seekers:


•Applicants should check their applications against the checklist located online at http://travel.state.gov/passport. Thirteen percent of applications are delayed by simple errors such as not signing the application, forgetting to include a check for the application fee, writing a check for the wrong amount, or submitting a photograph that does not meet department specifications. Applications that use the secure online form will be processed more quickly.


First-time applicants can apply online at https://pptform2.state.gov/DS11/MainDS11.aspx.


Renewal applicants can apply at https://pptform2.state.gov/DS82/Eligibility.aspx.


•Travelers can check the status of their passport applications online at http://travel.state.gov/passport/ get/status/status_2567.html. Information on routine applications is normally available online approximately four weeks after the application is submitted. Information on expedited applications is normally available online approximately one week after the application is submitted.


•Those who have applied and are leaving within two weeks can visit http://travel.state.gov/passport/about/npic/npic_896.html to send an e-mail inquiry to check the status or call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778.


•Information on how to apply for a passport, including how to expedite processing, is available at http://travel.state.gov. Applicants requesting expedited service must write "EXPEDITE" on the outside of the envelope containing their application.


For more, go to www.state.gov.


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