Friday, 8 April 2011

USA "Passport Day" scheduled for tomorrow CANCELLED

"Passport Day": in the USA, scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday, 9 April 2011), has been cancelled because of the possibility of a partial shutdown of the Federal government starting at midnight tonight.

In what was to have been the third such annual event the U.S. Department of State was going to have Passport Agency offices -- normally oipen only on weekdays by appointment and only for those paying rush charges for expedited processing -- open on a Saturday, without appointment, even for routine passport applications or renewals.

It would have been an especially good opportunity to get anew passport before you might have been asked to complete the proposed impossible new Biographical Questionnaire for passport applicants.

The last time the USA Federal government shut down because of Congressional inability to agree on funding for continued operations, all passport processing was suspended for several weeks. Tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of people had to cancel planned overseas trips, including those on urgent business and for family emergencies, because they couldn't get new passports or get their expired passports renewed. (Many people don't notice their passport has expired until they need to take an unexpected trip abroad, and gte it out of their safe deposit box.) The situation will be much worse this time around: in 1995, passports weren't strictly required, and weren't generally required at all for travel to and from Canada and Mexico. Now, passports are strictly required for all air travel and, except for those with a limited number of alternate credentials, for travellers to and from Canada and Mexico even by land.

I confidently predict that if the Federal government shuts down tonight, one of the most immediate "constituent service" crises for members of Congress and their staffs will be what to do about US citizens without passports but with family emergencies or urgent business abroad.

Link | Posted by Edward on Friday, 8 April 2011, 11:41 (11:41 AM) | TrackBack (0)
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