ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Olmsted County has reopened passport services after being closed for a week due to illness-induced staffing shortages.
“We don’t anticipate any disruptions in service, and it’s all just dependent on the health of our staff, staffing levels,” said Mark Krupski, director of property records and licensing for the county.
With the easing of pandemic restrictions around the world, especially for travel, a new or updated passport is on the agenda for some.
“Greece has become extremely popular again. Europe, all around, has become very popular. Caribbean Islands; Jamaica, Aruba, Curacao,” said Jody Meyer, travel consultant at Travel Leaders Rochester.
Meyer said she has never seen the demand for overseas travel as high as it is right now, and unfortunately for some, not all of their documents are in order upon departure.
“I’ve been in this industry for 25 years and I’ve never seen it busier,” Meyer said. “We had someone who literally said, ‘yeah, my passport is valid’, they pulled it out the night before, realizing their passport had in fact expired.”
She says that while pandemic restrictions from country to country vary, the process for renewing or obtaining a new passport is now the same as before the pandemic.
Many agencies have closed during COVID, which has lengthened the processing of renewal applications. The process can sometimes take up to 18 weeks, but now, Meyer says, operations are back to normal.
“The passport application takes about 7-8 weeks and a renewal takes about 5-7 weeks,” Meyer said. “It is the same.”
Olmsted County has agreed that the time it takes to renew or obtain a passport is similar to before the pandemic. The county also offers US State Department-approved passport photos.
“They raced 6 to 8 weeks to get these passports,” Krupski said.
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