Monday, March 22, 2010
Here’s your fun fact of the day: Less than one-third of Americans have passports, a sorry state of affairs considering more than half of Canadians have theirs. I’m happy to cede the Olympic gold medal hockey match to our brothers in the north, but passport count? Puh-lease. That said, getting a passport in the U.S. is quite an ordeal and probably the real reason why so few Americans have a little blue book of their own: There’s the confusing State Department website, multiple forms, appointments at local offices, renewal by mail…who needs all the hassle? Well, if you still need a passport of your own—and you will if you plan to visit Bermuda anytime soon—then the State Department has some good news for you. Saturday March 27 is officially Passport Day, when 23 regional passport offices nationwide will take walk-up applicants, a serious departure from standard operating procedures. That means on this Saturday only, instead of making an appointment in advance, you can walk into your local passport agency—or in some cases smaller “acceptance facilities” including many city halls—and apply for a brand new passport in person or have your current blue book renewed. You’ll still have to wait four to six weeks for your document to be issued (or you can pay $60 more for expedited service, which takes two to three weeks) but it’s an awful lot better than how it’s normally done and that’s good news for U.S. travelers. For more information on U.S. Passport Day visit the State Department’s website.