Mitt Romney advocates for passport office to come to Utah

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Senator Mitt Romney has plans for the state of Utah to open up its own passport office, and the U.S. Department of State had “passport fairs” throughout Utah last week to speed up the passport process.

The UVU Young Living Alumni Center hosted a passport fair Feb. 15. The U.S. Department of State sent employees from around the country to Utah to hold several passport fairs.

Because the nearest passport office is in Denver, these pop-up fairs allow Utahns’ to get passports in-person, quickly and efficiently.

“U.S. passports are in demand these days. Last year we issued over 24 million passports domestically to traveling American citizens. That’s the most ever,” Andres Rodriguez, who’s in charge of community relations for the U.S. Department of State, said.

U.S. Senator Mitt Romney visited the passport fair in Salt Lake City, and spoke on the urgent need for a passport office in Utah. Sen. Romney recently helped pass legislation to increase the number of passport offices in the U.S.

“We have a lot of people in Utah who do a lot of travel internationally. We have a lot of missionaries. We have a lot of families, big families. They want to go around the world and see different places. And if for some reason they need to see someone in person, they have to go several hundred miles because the closest office is Denver,” Romney said.

The U.S. Department of State is currently conducting research to see if Utah qualifies for a passport office. Sen. Romney is confident that Utah will open an office very soon because the state receives 250,000 passports a year.

“Our service commitments are where they were pre-pandemic: six to eight weeks for routine passport application. And we really, really want to encourage people just to keep your passport current at all times,” Rena Bitter, U.S. Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs, said. 

Both Sen. Romney and assistant secretary Bitter encouraged those traveling to consult travel.state.gov to receive updated travel advice, including safety and security information, and passport requirements.

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