You might think of your local public library just as a place to go to check out books, but it is so much more! Libraries aren’t only for books, magazines, and DVDs these days. They offer all kinds of services. You can use the internet for free, get help with research, take your kids to storytime… and possibly even get a new passport!
More and more libraries now offer Passport Acceptance Facility services, so you can apply for your passport and pick up a travel guidebook, all in one stop.
Passport Acceptance Facilities: The Basics
What Do Passport Acceptance Facilities Do?
Passport Acceptance Facilities play an important role in the issuance of US passports. If you don’t currently hold a valid passport (or one that expired recently), the US government needs to verify your identity and citizenship before they can issue you a passport. That’s where the Passport Acceptance Facility comes in!
All applicants for first-time adult passports or replacements for lost, stolen, or damaged passports have to appear in front of a Passport Acceptance Agent in person. The agent will check your application, your identification, and your proof of US citizenship. She’ll then seal your application into an envelope that can only by opened by the Passport Agency. The agent can mail the envelope to the Passport Processing Center for you, or you can take the envelope with you to send to a passport expediting service.
Need a passport for your kid? If your child is age 15 or younger, you’ll need to go to the Passport Acceptance Facility whether or not your child has previously been issued a passport.
Who Can Be a Passport Acceptance Agent?
Under State Department rules, any government office can apply to become a Passport Acceptance Facility. The most common sites for Passport Acceptance Facilities are US Post Offices. But Post Offices aren’t the only locations where you can submit a passport application! Acceptance facilities can be located in courthouses, government administrative offices, or even on the campuses of public universities. And since public libraries are run by county or city governments, they, too, can apply to become a Passport Acceptance Facility.
Library Card to Passport Card – Passport Acceptance Facilities at Libraries
Demand for US passports is at an all-time high. Many Passport Acceptance Facilities are reporting that they are overwhelmed with walk-in applicants and requests for appointments. More and more public libraries are stepping up to fill this vital need.
New Acceptance Facilities at Public Libraries
In Missouri, two Kansas City public libraries began accepting passport applications this week. Both the Westport Branch Library and Trails West Branch Library now offer passport acceptance services with no appointment required. Even better, you can apply for your passport anytime the library is open, even on the weekend!
The Dover Public Library in downtown Dover, Delaware is also preparing to open its Passport Acceptance Facility next week. This is going to be a great boon to the community, as previously, the only place in the city to apply for a passport was the Dover Post Office.
The Derby Public Library in Derby, Kansas began offering passport services six months ago, and reports that they’ve seen steady growth in passport applications and visits to their library. They’ve trained almost everyone on their staff to serve as Passport Acceptance Agents. This allows them to offer you the convenience of applying for your passport even on evenings and weekends!
Is the Library the Best Place to Apply for a Passport?
If your local library offers passport acceptance services, it might just be the most convenient place for you to have your passport application executed. It’s not uncommon for passport offices in libraries to offer extended hours and walk-in service. And if you do have to wait for service, what better place to wait than the library? They’ve got comfy chairs and all the latest bestsellers and magazines!
In fact, a library was recently named the nation’s best place to submit a passport application. The Main Library in Toledo, Ohio earned the State Department’s award as the 2016 Passport Acceptance Facility of the Year. Out of the more than 7,300 Passport Acceptance Facilities across the US, the downtown Toledo library was singled out by the State Department as the best. Their award letter called the library “a model for all of our acceptance facilities.” The Toledo Main Library offers evening and weekend hours, and even offers passport photo service for the bargain price of $5.