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.
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.