Over the past several years, applications for U.S. passports have increased significantly, causing delays in application processing times. Much of the increase in applications stems from the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which requires passports for travel to Canada, Mexico, and other nations within the Western Hemisphere. I am very concerned about the problems Minnesotans have experienced as a result of these delays. In response to the increased demand and need for passports right here in Minnesota, I urged the State Department to ensure an orderly, time process for completing passport applications. On May 18, 2009, the State Department opened the first Minnesota passport agency in Minneapolis. This new agency can issue same-day passports and passport cards to customers traveling within 14 days or for those who have other urgent needs for a passport.
How to apply for a passport
Whether you are applying in person at the Minneapolis Agency (located at 212 South 3rd Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55401), through a passport-acceptance facility (a local post office, government center, etc.), or renewing your passport by mail, you should visit the State Department passport website at http://travel.state.gov/passport/. Here you can find information on where to apply, what documents you will need, application fees, travel document requirements, and how to get your passport in a hurry. If you have any questions, please call my office at 612-727-5220.
How to contact the Minneapolis Passport Agency
In order to apply for or renew your passport on a same-day basis at the Minneapolis Passport Agency, you must first make an appointment through the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778. Please note that if you apply in person, you will need to pay the expedited processing fee in addition to the normal passport application fee. You will also still need to provide a complete passport application, including passport photos, proof of citizenship, and form DS-11. Before going to your appointment, please visit the State Department website at
http://travel.state.gov/passport/ to make sure you have everything you need. If you are unable to get an appointment or have any questions about the Minneapolis Passport Agency, please call my office at
How long does it currently take to get a passport?
If you don't need same-day service, you might be able to apply for your passport through normal, routine service. According to the State Department, passport applications (first-time applications and renewals) currently take between four and six weeks. Expedited applications and renewals take two-to-three weeks. However, these processing times may change, so please check the State Department website for the most up-to-date processing times, and please allow extra processing time for your passport. The best way to ensure on-time delivery of your passport is to apply early and pay for expedited processing if necessary.
Current travel requirements
When traveling by air between the United States and any other country, including Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, or Bermuda, you are required to present a U.S. passport. This applies to everyone, including newborns, infants, and children. The only exceptions are:
- U.S. citizens on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces traveling with military IDs and travel orders;
- U.S. citizen merchant mariners traveling in conjunction with maritime business with U.S- issued Merchant Mariner Documents;
- Travelers with a NEXUS card for use at a NEXUS kiosk at Canadian preclearance airports;
- U.S. lawful permanent residents with Permanent Resident Cards or other evidence of permanent resident status AND required travel documents.
- Refugees and asylees with Refugee Travel Documents.
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI)
On June 1, 2009, the U.S. government implemented the full requirements of the land and sea phase of WHTI. The new rules require most U.S. citizens entering the United States at sea or land ports of entry to have a passport or a passport card. The only exceptions are:
- U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 traveling BY LAND OR SEA between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the countries of the Caribbean. They will be able to present the originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of U.S. citizenship, such as naturalization certificates or citizenship cards.
- Groups of U.S. citizen children ages 16 through 18, when traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team, BY LAND OR SEA between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, or the countries of the Caribbean. They will be able to enter under adult supervision with originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship.
- Members of the U.S. military with military IDs and travel orders.
- Lawful permanent residents with Permanent Resident Cards AND acceptable travel documents.
U.S. citizens can apply for a U.S. Passport Card, which facilitates entry and expedites document processing at U.S. land and sea ports of entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card may not be used to travel by air. Otherwise, it carries the rights and privileges of the U.S. passport. Many Minnesotans who live near the U.S.-Canadian border have applied for and use these passport cards.
For more information on the WHTI, please visit the Department of Homeland Security's comprehensive Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative website at http://www.getyouhome.gov/.
How can Senator Klobuchar's office assist me with my passport?
With the change in regulations, passport applications are taking much longer than they normally do. Staff in my Minnesota office is available to help you get your passport in a hurry.
If you already applied for a passport, you check the status of your application on the State Department website at http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/status/status_2567.html
If you depart within two weeks and have not received your passport, please contact my office at 612-727-5220. If you need emergency assistance with a passport outside of business hours, please send an email to: Stephanie Leill
The following resources are available to learn more about passport changes and requirements:
- State Department Travel Site: http://travel.state.gov/passport/
- Homeland Security Crossing Borders Site: http://www.dhs.gov/xtrvlsec/crossingborders/index.shtm
- Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative Site: http://www.getyouhome.gov
- Check the Status of Your Application: http://travel.state.gov/passport/status/status_2567.html
Senator Klobuchar’s Offices
302 Hart Senate Office Building
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