No matter where you turn these days one topic simply can’t be avoided: government cuts. From job reductions, to excessive wait times to receive tax returns, cuts in spending and the after effects cannot be avoided. One way you might not have expected budget cuts to affect your daily life is in travel.
The State Department has not been immune to recent reductions and because of the cuts it has had to reduce the number of government service providers, like post office workers, that handle passport applications. The result is that passports are taking longer to process and certain conveniences have been eliminated.
Say Goodbye to National Passport Day
In the past, if you needed to renew your passport or even get a passport for the first time, you could partake in National Passport Day. For many, this day (which always falls on a Saturday) presented a great opportunity to check an important to-do off the list. During this day, people across the nation could go to a regional passport agency without scheduling an appointment, which is usually required. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts, the Department of State Passport Agencies will no longer be partaking in this day.
Dreaded Post Office Lines and Wait Times
If you’re a first time passport applicant, getting a passport for a child or replacing a lost or stolen passport, you’ll need to go through a Passport Acceptance Agent and have your application “executed” before SPS can submit your passport paperwork. However, there are less Passport Agents at post offices now due to recent cuts in spending. The few Passport Agents still available at your local post office are juggling large workloads, so customer service isn’t always a top priority. Not to mention, reduced staff means longer lines, wait times and in some cases, even limited hours.
At Swift Passport Services, we’re telling our customers to plan in advance if they need a passport for upcoming travel. If you’ve been waiting to renew your passport or apply for the first time, you might want to reconsider your strategy and do your best to secure your passport as soon as possible. The delays created by the budget cuts may mean that even an expedited passport will take a little extra time. If you have questions or would like to speak with a SPS team member, call today (877) 917-9438. We’re happy to address any concerns you may have and will do our best to get your passport in your hands as quickly as possible.