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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Passport Services for the Olympic Games in Vancouver

Brenda S. Sprague
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Passport Services 
Washington, DC
February 19, 2010


The following transcript is from a video produced by the Department of State.

QUESTION: How is the Department of State’s Passport Services Office involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY SPRAGUE: We are working closely with the U.S. Consulate General in Vancouver and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to ensure that U.S. citizens have a safe, hassle-free, and fun trip to Vancouver, Canada. The Seattle Passport Agency hosted two Passport Days, on December 5 and January 16, to accept expedited and routine U.S. passport book and passport card applications. More than 450 people applied for a passport on these days. The agency also conducted media interviews and visited local universities to publicize travel requirements for residents planning to visit Canada.

QUESTION: How can I get a U.S. passport card or passport book if I am traveling to Vancouver?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY SPRAGUE: Remember that there are new border-crossing requirements implemented as part of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). Anyone planning travel to Canada needs a passport book, passport card, or other WHTI-compliant travel document to re-enter the United States. If you’re travelling by air to Canada, you’ll need a U.S. passport book to return to the United States. If you’re driving across the Canadian border or arriving by sea, you can use a U.S. passport card, a U.S. passport book, or other WHTI-compliant document.

If you do not have a U.S. passport and are planning to travel to the Olympic or Paralympic Winter Games, apply now. If you are traveling in less than 14 days, you may contact the National Passport Information Center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-877-4-USA-PPT to schedule an appointment at one of our regional passport agencies. If you’re traveling in less than 14 days, you may apply in-person at one of our more than 9,000 passport acceptance facilities across the country. You should select expedited, not routine, service. Processing times for expedited applications are generally 2 to 3 weeks. The cost, in addition to regular application fees, is $60 per application.

QUESTION: What should I do if I have questions about getting a passport card or passport book?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY SPRAGUE: If you have questions, the first place to turn is, your one-stop shopping place for information on traveling abroad. You’ll find everything you need to know, including how and where to apply for a U.S. passport book or passport card, U.S. entry requirements for non-U.S. citizens, and other useful tips for attending the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. And of course, you can contact the National Passport Information Center.

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