Passport Day in the USA 2012

If you had told me that I’d be writing about US Passport Day a week ago I wouldn’t have believed you. Then, as chance would have it, my wife and I were invited to a wedding out of the county (not Canada), and I realized that my passport had expired… a few years ago. It was then that I remembered that a friend of mine from Ohio had actually driven from Cleveland to Buffalo last summer to expedite her family’s passports. She and her kids literally drove straight to the passport office on Genesee Street and then grabbed a lunch at Washington Market (where we had a chance to catch up) before heading back. I recall that she told me how lucky we were to have such a convenience in Buffalo, but I never realized what a convenience it was until this past week. 
It turned out that my wife also needed to renew her passport (last name change), so we headed down to the Buffalo Passport Agency, walked through a security check, up to the teller window and handed over our applications, photos and cash. Two days later our passports arrived in the mail. No muss, no fuss. The only hassle about the process was having to spend $20 getting our photos taken at the local drug store. I’m not sure why the passport agency doesn’t offer that service (money in the bank). At the time that we stopped in, we were the only customers – although it was suggested that we make an appointment, we lucked out by showing up on a slow day. 
Genesee-vision-Gateway-Buffalo-NY.jpg
When I first heard that a Buffalo Passport Agency was moving into the Genesee Gateway building, I must admit that I had mixed emotions. I understood that from an owner/developer’s standpoint the tenant was a major score. Unfortunately it’s not what a lot of people expected would be the first tenant (on the ground floor). At the same time the convenience of having a passport agency in your city is a big deal. Buffalo is one of 24 cities in the country to have such an agency (see the list). Of course most people who apply for passports just mail them in, but if you’re in a rush, or if you like to get such things done in person, having an office around the corner is pretty handy. Following are some suggestions:
-If you’re paying cash, you need exact change.
-Bring your expired passport and driver’s license.
-Don’t bring your computer or they will make you leave it in your car.
-Bring a copy of your travel itinerary (if you’re getting your passport expedited).
-Don’t forget to get your photos taken beforehand. 
-Make an appointment. 
The Buffalo Passport Agency is hosting a special passport event in Buffalo on Saturday, March 10, 2012 from 10:00 am until 3:00 pm to provide passport information to U.S. citizens and to accept passport applications.  The Buffalo Passport Agency is joining the Department of State in celebrating Passport Day in the USA 2012, a national passport acceptance and outreach event. 
EVENT:          Passport Day in the USA 2012
 
DATE:            Saturday, March 10, 2012
 
TIME:             10:00 am – 3:00 pm
 
WHERE:         Buffalo Passport Agency
                        111 Genesee Street
                        Buffalo, NY  14203
*Information on the cost and how to apply for a U.S. passport is available at travel.state.gov.  U.S. citizens may also obtain passport information by phone, in English and Spanish, by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778.


About the author  ⁄ Katie Krawczyk

Katie Krawczyk is a freelance writer who has contributed to Buffalo Rising since 2009. A Buffalo re-pat, Katie moved back to the city in 2006 after living in Washington, DC, The Netherlands and Indiana. In addition to being a writer, Katie is a business owner, PR specialist, philanthropist, world traveler, and self-proclaimed life enthusiast. She loves her hometown as much as she loves chocolate and peanut butter.

15 comments
Polonia
Polonia

Friends from Austin got passports the same day of their appointment so they could go to the strip clubs in Canada. The system works.

brownteeth
brownteeth

Thanks, I paid the same for my expedited one a few years ago but it still took a few weeks.

betty41
betty41

Sorry, Boss, but just to clarify: the management of Genesee Gateway is primary unfer the auspices of Doug Swift (who is a partner with Howard on the Larkin Building) and Joe Petrella, another member of Larkin Development. Mr Zemsky has nought to do with this venture on Genesee. The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation was a major funder to get this project up and ready for tenants.

The Boss
The Boss

yes something is in the works, I believe the Governers competition grant that secured about 100M or something for our region had some funds allocated for streetscape improvements here. Let's see, who was on that board that secured the money, oh yeah Howard Zemky, the very owner of the property.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/HMshAu0dgoIVEC_HkSahCz4FeZ6
https://me.yahoo.com/a/HMshAu0dgoIVEC_HkSahCz4FeZ6

I was told this office is only for passports for travelers who have confirmed out of country [not Canada or Mexico]travel plans within a certain recent period of time. I believe 14 days or so. You have to provide the confirmed travel plans. All other new or renewed passport applications have to be through the regular channels, i.e. through applications filed at a post office or renewal by mail, which take the 4-6 weeks for processing at the least.

BrianWhite
BrianWhite

Agreed. I live about 100 yards away from this and think about that fact all the time. The busiest place on this block is Eddie Brady's. Comically, it was the busiest place before this investment.

rb09
rb09

And people...

queenseyes
queenseyes

The total cost was $365.00 for two passports, including an extra $60 per passport to expedite.

Jesse
Jesse

Very much early to criticize.

The trees in the mockup are at least a few years 'in the ground', you don't buy 'em that size. Give 'em a chance.

CindyLee
CindyLee

Outstanding! Makes total sense to have one in a border city! My original passport took six weeks to get to me. Location of the office is fabulous also. When I moved to Buffalo in 1976 that corner was a building-wide billboard for some very opinionated loon. Now it's a show piece. Kudos to the passport agency for taking that leap. If we had an influx of people and business to this area, which someday we might, that corner would fill up (relatively) fast. You can eventually get all the trees you need. I'm sure eventually it will sustain itself, and I'm happy to see it happen.

brownteeth
brownteeth

Just curious, how much did the expedited passport cost? And how much would a regular one cost and how long does that take?

300miles
300miles

I think it's a little too early to criticize the genessee streetscape considering how recent the huge renovations were completed. Also I thought there was something in the works for the buildings across the street?

Anyway, a project was recently announced to overhaul the Chippewa streetscape. Maybe this section of Genessee will be included in that work.

I agree with the writer that a passport office wasn't what people expected in these buildings. But it is awesome that we have one in Buffalo. If and when the street evolves into a more entertainment oriented strip, I'm sure they could easily relocate. It's just an office.

elmdog
elmdog

great picture of the Genesee-Gateway buildings...Too bad it is so far from that picture...Its a deadzone....

Although a few Trees, a few awnings may do the building some good...and a few tenants....

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

How great, and "lived in", the corridor would look with some trees, umbrellas, etc.

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