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A Passport to Success

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A Passport to Success

The Postal Service provides an unparalleled and proven reach for government services

Americans once again are embracing international travel. After two long summers overshadowed by COVID-19, this year millions are taking to the skies to visit those bucket list destinations they dreamed about during lockdown.

A lot has changed since the mid-1970s, when we first partnered with the State Department to process passport applications. Back then, the State Department issued about 3 million passports a year. Last year, even with the impact of the pandemic, the Postal Service alone processed 7 million passport applications — almost half of the total number of U.S. passports issued in 2021. And from current data, it looks like 2022 applications for first-time passports and renewals are returning to pre-pandemic peaks, when the State Department issued around 21 million passports annually.

For many travelers, this year will be the first time they will need a passport. Booking an international trip can be stressful, so we have created solutions that make the application as smooth and easy as possible.

Appointments are only a few clicks away through our simple-to-use USPS Retail Customer Appointment Scheduler tool, which can be found at www. usps.com. We also take appointments through self-service kiosks at 2,200 USPS locations, and for those who like to speak with a person, you can always schedule your appointment through our customer care phone line at 1-800-ASK-USPS.

We have also reopened in-person appointments at 4,800 Post Office locations across the country and have developed resources to guide applicants through the appropriate forms, proofs of identity, and payment methods required by the State Department. Many of our designated passport service offices can also take photographs to save applicants time and to ensure that their portraits meet State Department requirements.

You can find out all the details for first-time passports and renewals, and passports for minors, at usps.com/international/passports.htm.

This successful partnership between the Postal Service and State Department illustrates the deep and meaningful ways USPS helps other agencies engage with the American public. We connect with every community in the country, as about 95 percent of the U.S. population lives within 5 miles of a Post Office. That’s an incredible reach and one that we intend to build on under our Delivering for America 10-year plan.

The possibilities for expanded public trust services are endless. We already offer identity verification services that streamline applications for federal jobs and contracts, saving potentially months of delay. And with our digital fingerprinting technology, federal agencies can expedite the process for all manner of government services.

From notary services in certain areas to biometric data capture, Post Office Branches around the country can provide local communities with the services that will be essential to their growth. And that is the essence of our Delivering for America transformation: to ensure the Postal Service provides the services and high performance the American public expects and deserves.

 

Elvin Mercado

Vice President, Retail and Post Office Operations