Passport Day in the USA 2012: How Times Have Changed

Posted by Karen Pizza
March 6, 2012
Application for a U.S. Passport by Mail

Nearly two decades ago, I began as a junior-level staffer at National Passport Center (NPC). At the time, NPC was affectionately nicknamed the "pink palace" among my colleagues because its primary function was to process passport renewal applications, which happened to be pink.

Handling millions of renewal applications in one facility was an innovative approach to the passport process. It helped us get the finished product -- a U.S. passport book -- to our customers faster and more efficiently.

In my first few days at NPC, I worked with approximately 50 people, all of whom quickly became familiar with that one bright, pink color. Today, NPC is the largest domestic passport facility with 800 employees. We also process more than just passport renewals, which -- by the way -- are no longer pink.

Several years after I started, we began issuing passports for first-time customers who submitted applications at hundreds of non-Department acceptance facilities (such as post offices and clerks of court) in the northeast part of the country. More employees were hired to help us meet increased passport demand.

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, NPC was at the forefront of the Department's efforts to improve the passport process and enhance national security. We were the first passport facility to issue a photo-digitized passport, meaning the photo was digitally printed into the passport book instead of glued onto the data page and covered with a laminate. We were also the first domestic facility to issue passports (only for routine service of four to six weeks) to U.S. citizens living abroad, so that passports issued to people overseas would have the same enhanced security features as those issued domestically.

Another big change came in October 2010 when we reconfigured our existing space and opened three public windows. Our goal was simple: to provide in-person and convenient passport services for residents in New Hampshire and surrounding states. Before 2010, local residents had to hop in their car and drive south on I-95 to the Boston Passport Agency if they needed a passport for urgent international travel in 14 days or less.

You can visit us in historic Portsmouth from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. EST, Saturday, March 10, for Passport Day in the USA. On this day only, appointments are not necessary to apply. Our mascot, Passport Pal, will be at NPC to pose for pictures with young kids. Additionally, hundreds of New England-area acceptance facilities will be open on March 10. For more information on acceptance facility locations, check out travel.state.gov/passportday.

Comments

Comments

Jason G.
|
Texas, USA
March 6, 2012

Jason G. in Texas writes:

That's some name you got Ms. Pizza. To me it seems quite funny that the renewal papers were all just pink, but it does seems easy only having one color for them. You see a pink paper, you know it's for a renewal. On another note, I had no idea there even was a Passport Day nor did I know that there was a NPC that also had a mascot. I did know that you can get a passport at a post office, at least I think you can still. I did not know that the way the picture was put in a passport had changed either, but then again the last time I went on an airplane to fly to another country I was ten or so which was over a decade ago in 2000 and I have not gotten another passport because I have no need for one as I have not any plans of travel to another country.

not78
March 7, 2012

W.W. writes:

@ Jason G. in Texas -- Right on...

cecilia
|
Nigeria
March 7, 2012

Cecilia in Nigeria writes:

Hello,pls i would like to know who are the kind of people that are to apply for pink passport.if also citizen can apply

Robert S.
|
Florida, USA
March 7, 2012

Robert S. in Florida writes:

I applied for mine at Miami Beach City Hall and was so anxious about it that I never noticed the color of the application. It could have been pink, polka-dot, or tiger-striped for all I knew or cared.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
April 16, 2012

Joe in Tennessee writes:

My how times have changed. Under the auspices of Frances Knight at 1425 K St., NW, U.S. Passport Office I revised SF-82 to Clerks of Court in 1972. I recieved the top employee suggestion for State that year and a heffty $250 reward. Keep up the good work and know that you are part of a proud heritage.

Joe
|
Tennessee, USA
April 16, 2012

Joe in Tennessee writes:

I have to report a revision to my last post. It was actually DS-1447 that I revised, Request for Forms and/or Brochures.

Anthony D.
|
Georgia
November 26, 2012

Anthony D. in Georgia (U.S.A.) writes:

How can we hold a passport day here at the university for our Faculty and Staff?

Anthony D.
Georgia State University

DipNote B.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
November 27, 2012

DipNote Bloggers reply:

@ Anthony D. in Georgia (U.S.A.) -- We have passed along your email address to our colleagues in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. The Department of State passport agencies and centers regularly hold outreach events at colleges and universities around the country. The Atlanta Passport Agency would be delighted to coordinate a passport day for Georgia State University and will be in touch with you soon.

.

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