Lost amidst fears of a budget shutdown last week was a bit of welcome news for US citizens living in El Paso, Texas: A new emergency passport office is now open downtown.

The office is the 24th regional Passport Agency office to open in the United States. Unlike your local post office, these facilities only handle emergency applications, typically issuing passports within 24 hours.  Previously, before the office opened, El Paso residents who needed same day passport services had a long trip ahead of them; the two closest agencies were in Houston or Tucson.  Tucson is about 300 miles away, and Houston is 750. Neither office is particularly convenient.

The big question is: What took so long? Located right along the border, El Paso seems like a natural spot for a passport agency office. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services Brenda Sprague  agreed, telling El Paso Inc that “El Paso was very high on our list because we felt we were not properly supporting the borderland. You get these very complicated issues because it’s very common for people here to have business, family, residences on both sides of the border.”

Speaking to El Paso’s KFox14, Sprague said “This is particularly significant for people who have an emergency outside the border. And for people at Fort Bliss who may have an emergency overseas.”

The passport office is open to citizens who need a passport for travel within the next 14 days, or for travel within the next 3 weeks where a foreign visa is required. The Department of State expects the passport office to issue between 46,000 to 47,000 passports each year.

To make an appointment, simply call 1-877-487-2778. You’ll need to bring a copy of your itinerary with you to the office, along with the other required documents. Keep in mind that the passport agency office is only open from 7:30 in the morning to 3:30 in afternoon, and only on weekdays. You may need to set aside some time off work to head down to the office.

If making an appointment, taking time off work and waiting in line sounds like too much of a hassle, you do have the option of using a private expediting company like RushMyPassport as well. When you use an expediting service, you get the convenience of being able to apply for your passport at the local post office, assuming they accept passport applications, plus having your passport hand-delivered to the Department of State for processing in as little as 24 hours.

Need same day passport processing? Contact us today!