San Diego: It's the eighth largest city in the United States, its climate is envied by many, and it is home to some of the prettiest beaches in the world. But this border city -- the busiest land port of entry in the country -- lacked a vital government service. U.S. citizens needing to obtain a passport within 14 days had to trek over one hundred miles up the 405 Freeway to Los Angeles. Today's opening of the San Diego Passport Agency changes all of that. Emergency passport assistance is now available in the heart of downtown, just a short drive from the U.S.-Mexico border and San Diego International Airport.
Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a new facility has been fashioned on the tenth floor of the Pacific Western Bank building, a beautiful downtown San Diego landmark. As you approach Old Town heading south on "the 5," you'll notice a large American flag flying atop Columbia Center. At this location, you can now receive expedited passport service if you require a passport book or passport card for imminent travel. Did you get roped into a last-minute business trip to Tijuana, only to realize your passport had expired? Don't worry -- our agency has nearly 30 employees ready to serve you at 15 public counters.
In his remarks at the agency's opening, Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy pointed out, "For many U.S. citizens in the southern part of the state, crossing the border can be a daily occurrence.” Our job at the San Diego Passport Agency is to facilitate the cross-border travel that is so vital to both the U.S. and Mexican economies. We expect to issue approximately 200,000 passport books and passport cards and assist more than 45,000 customers in our first year, augmenting the passport network that issued 1.9 million passports to Californians last year.
Whether you're studying abroad, heading out on your honeymoon, or simply visiting family in another country, you'll need a passport. If you need it in a hurry, don't waste your precious time sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on the 405. Make an appointment at the San Diego Passport Agency by calling 1-877-487-2778, and let us take some of the stress out of preparing for a last-minute trip.
Passport Day in the U.S.A. is Saturday, April 9, 2011. Visit a passport agency in your community to learn more about consular services.