Why people are now waiting 5 hours in line to get their passport

Posted at 2:24 PM, Mar 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-13 18:05:37-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- If you are in need of a passport, you may want to pack your patience before you head to the post office to submit your application.

"I have been here for four hours and counting," passport applicant Quadon McCullough said. "I thought that this process was a quick process, so here we are still here and I am sitting here with a sick child."

McCullough said she tried to make an appointment at Richmond’s Main Post Office on Brook Road, but is scheduled to travel to Jamaica before the next available opening.

"I was told I was not going to be able to get an appointment til May," McCullough said.

The US Postal Service said January through May is peak season for passport agencies. That's because of Spring Break and summer travel. This year, applications are up five percent from last year. Additionally, new travel requirements in 2007 mean passport holders, like Troy Louis, are up for renewal.

"They made it mandatory 10 years ago and now everybody has to have it renewed all at the same time. Everybody is panicking," Louis said.

Louis didn’t have the time to wait, but college student Samantha Burton had no choice if she wanted to travel this summer.
"I’ve been here for almost five hours, completely wasted my Spring Break day," Burton said. "I really hope this trip is worth it."

Almost five hours after McCullough arrived at the post office, her number was called. But an issue with her birth certificate will mean another day of waiting if she wants leave the country.

"If your trip is next year, get here now, schedule your appointment now or you’ll be waiting like me forever," McCullough said. "It’s extremely frustrating when you plan a trip you are extremely excited about it. You want to get everything together for your trip and you don’t want to come to a post office through the government and wait several hours to be seen for about 15 minutes."

March is national passport month.

Virginia Passport Acceptance Facility List

Here is a list of passport fairs coming up in the Richmond district, which includes zip code areas beginning with 228 through 239 and 244. Appointments are not necessary.

March 25, 2017
12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Gloucester Post Office
6892 Main Street
Gloucester, Va. 23061

April 8, 2017
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Newport News Main
101 25th Street
Newport News, Va. 23607

April 8, 2017
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Richmond Main Post Office
VCU Campus, Shafer dining court
810 Cathedral Place
Richmond, Va. 23284

Department of State passport fees (money orders / personal checks made payable to us department of state; money orders may be purchased with cash or debit card only – credit card cannot be used for Dept. of State fees):

Passport book $110.00 (Adults)
Passport book $80.00 (Children under 16)
Passport card $30.00 (Adults)
Passport card $15.00 (Children under 16)

US Postal Service fees (cash, money orders/personal check made payable to us postal service; debit and credit card transactions accepted, too.)

$25 execution fee payable to USPS
assport photos can be taken on site for $15.00

You must bring these two (2) forms of identification:

Certified birth certificate (includes official seal) and current driver’s license or state identification card
Naturalization certificate (if naturalized citizen) and current driver’s license or state identification card

You must also provide:

A photocopy showing the front and back of the applicant’s id made on plain white, 8½ x 11’’ standard paper.
Photocopies must contain images on only one-side of each page (not on the front and the back)
If copies cannot be made on the same side of one page, the applicant may present two separate pages: one displaying the front of the id and the second displaying the back of the id.

All applicants must appear in person (including minor children).

For additional information, and to fill out your passport application online, go to Print and bring your documents, ids and photocopies or fill them out at the fair or passport agency, but you must not sign your application until you are in front of a passport acceptance agent.

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