Tricounty News

Opening of first passport office in Minnesota



Office opening is in time for new border rules effective June 1

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced May 21, that after advocating strongly for a passport office in Minnesota, the U.S. State Department has opened its first domestic passport issuance facility in Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis Passport Agency is located at 212 South Third Avenue in downtown Minneapolis. It is designed to provide in-person passport services to American citizens throughout the North Central border region. The office will be able to serve U.S. citizens who have urgent or emergency travel needs, with the capability to issue passport books and passport cards on-site to qualified applicants.

"This new office means that Minnesotans will finally have convenient access to passport services," said Klobuchar. "This access is especially important because of our border with Canada and the substantial international travel that goes through the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport."

Klobuchar added: "The constituent service staff in my Minnesota office has been very busy helping people with passport issues, because a high demand for passports has caused processing delays. Even with this new office, I want Minnesotans to know that they can continue to contact my state office if they need help."

Previously, Minnesotans who needed passports immediately had to fly to the passport office in Chicago for expedited service.  Regular passport applications will continue to be processed through passport centers in Seattle and Charleston, NC.

Klobuchar said the opening of the new passport office is especially timely because the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will be implemented on June 1. The new passport requirements were recommended by the 9/11 Commission.

The new rules will require most American citizens entering the United States to have a passport or a passport card. (Currently, Americans arriving in the U.S. traveling by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and Caribbean countries do not need a passport, just proof of identity and U.S. citizenship.)

"The summer travel season is coming up," said Klobuchar. "I don't want Minnesotans who might be headed to Canada for some fishing to be turned back at the border."

Klobuchar said her Senate Web site www.klobuchar.senate.gov includes information on international travel rules and how to apply for a passport book or a passport card. Minnesotans can also go to www.travel.state.gov or call the National Passport Information Center toll-free at (877) 487-2778.