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New U. S Passport Office Opened in Dallas

New U. S Passport Office in Dallas opened on July 13, 2009

Furnished by Lal Varghese, Attorney at Law, Dallas

The Department of State plans to expand the existing network of 21 passport agencies and centers nationwide by opening new passport agencies in the State of Vermont, in the cities of Buffalo, New York, El Paso, Texas, Atlanta, Georgia and San Diego, California, and by establishing public counters at two existing locations, the National Passport Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the Arkansas Passport Center in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This expansion will be undertaken utilizing funds appropriated by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

These new agencies will be open to the public and will provide the citizens of these communities with easy access to the full range of passport services. These agencies will have the capability to issue passports onsite and provide same-day service to qualified applicants. The Department is working with the General Services Administration to identify appropriate space in each of the locations and the Department will provide updates to the public through the Departmentís Recovery Act website as project schedules are finalized. In March, the Department opened a new passport agency in Detroit and another new passport agency in Minneapolis in May. The Western Passport Center, a mega adjudication center with a public counter, will be co-located with the existing passport printing facility in Tucson. These activities were funded through the Departmentís normal budget and appropriations process.

The U.S. Department of State opened its twenty-second domestic passport issuance facility in Dallas, Texas on July 13, 2009. The Dallas Passport Agency is located at 1100 Commerce Street (Federal Building) in downtown Dallas and is designed to join the Houston Passport Agency in providing in-person passport services to American citizens throughout the southwest border region. The Dallas location provides access to a major domestic and international airport and will be instrumental in helping American citizens with their travel plans. The Dallas Passport Agency serves U.S. citizens who have urgent/emergency travel needs and has the capability to issue passport books on-site to qualifying applicants. Dallas will have the means to issue the U.S. passport card onsite in the near future. With the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that was implemented in June, this agency will greatly improve our ability to meet the travel needs of our customers in several states along our southern border. Information on the cost and how to apply for a passport book and/or a passport card is available at travel.state.gov. U.S. citizens may also obtain passport information by phone by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778.

THE U.S. PASSPORT CARD IS NOW IN PRODUCTION

The U. S Passport Agency began issuing of the U.S. Passport Card on July 14, 2008. Till now, they have issued over 1,000,000 U.S. Passport Cards. Applications for the U.S. Passport Card are being processed in approximately 4-6 weeks from the time of application. The wallet-size passport card is convenient and less expensive than the passport book. However, the U.S. Passport Card cannot be used for international air travel. This new travel document can be used to enter the United States from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at land border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. This card also can be used as a second ID in addition to the driverís license or picture ID, whenever such second ID is needed. It is always a smart idea to carry U. S Passport Card with you so that you can prove your legal status at any time it is needed under the new stringent laws being implemented in United States.

A current or previous passport book holder, who is eligible to use Form DS-82 , may apply for a passport card as a renewal by mail. First time applicants for a U.S. Passport, and those not eligible to use Form DS-82, must apply for a passport card in person using Form DS-11. The card has the same period of validity as the U.S. Passport Book: 10 years for an adult and 5 years for minors under age 16. The card costs $45 for a first-time adult passport applicant and $35 for all minor applicants under age 16, regardless of whether they are previous passport book or cardholders. Adults who already have a fully valid passport book may apply for the card as a passport renewal by mail and pay only $20.

To facilitate the frequent travel of U.S. citizens living in border communities and to meet DHS's operational needs at land borders, the passport card contains a vicinity-read radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. This chip points to a stored record in secure government databases. There is no personal information written to the RFID chip itself. With RFID technology, Customs and Border Protection inspectors will be able to access photographs and other biographical information stored in secure government databases before the traveler reaches the inspection station. The passport card uses state-of-the-art security features to prevent against the possibility of counterfeiting and forgery. In addition, a protective sleeve is provided with each passport card to protect against unauthorized reading or tracking of the card when it is not in use.

Disclaimer: Lal Varghese, Attorney at Law does not claim authorship for above referenced information. Lal Varghese, Attorney at Law or the publisher is not responsible or liable for anything stated above, since it is generalized information about the subject matters collected from various sources including Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, State Department, Federal Register, and American Immigration Lawyerís Association (AILA) Advocacy Center, and other legal sources. For individual cases and specific questions you are advised to consult an attorney of your choice or contact the agencies mentioned above. You can visit our website at: www.indiaimmigrationusa.com or www.indiaimmigrationusa@yahoogroups.com for more information about other related immigration matters.

URL: www.indiaimmigrationusa.com

EMAIL: attylal@aol.com

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