Charlotte is getting a full-service passport office. What we know so far

North and South Carolinians looking to go abroad will soon have a much closer full-service passport agency.

The State Department on Tuesday announced Charlotte and several other cities will get a new passport agency. While there are a number of acceptance facilities in Charlotte, they can’t get people a passport quickly or issue a new one.

The full-service center, run by the State Department, offers the following services:

Regular service: first-time passports and renewal.

Lost/stolen passport replacement

Fast-Track Service: expedited processing for people with urgent travel needs. You can get your passport within 14 days for an additional fee.

Same-Day Issuance: While not guaranteed, the agency offers the possibility of walking out with a passport on the day you apply.

Tuesday’s announcement didn’t say where the office will be located or when it will open. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Higher demand for US passports

Charlotte’s passport office comes amid a surge in international travel. In 1990, only 5% of Americans held passports, according to the State Department. Today, that number has skyrocketed to nearly half the population. In the past year alone, the State Department processed a record-breaking 24 million passport books and cards.

During the height of the pandemic, the wait time for a new passport grew as long as 13 weeks. But the backlog is gone, according to the State Department. With more overtime and increasing staffing, the State Department brought wait times back to pre-pandemic levels, according to the department’s website.

The new Charlotte agency is different from the nearly 7,500 passport acceptance facilities across the country — like one that opened last year in uptown. Acceptance facilities, often located in post offices or local government offices, are OK for routine applications like renewals. But they offer limited services and mail applications for processing, which takes six to eight weeks.

Charlotte’s new facility is just one of six new agencies announced on Tuesday. The State Department will be opening new locations in Salt Lake City, Utah; Kansas City, Mo.; Orlando, Fla.; San Antonio, Texas; and Cincinnati, Ohio. It will bring the total number of passport agencies to 36 once opened.

HOW TO APPLY FOR A NEW PASSPORT

Here are the materials you need to have when applying for a new passport:

  • A passport application form

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship that is original or certified, physical copy (birth certificate, certificate of naturalization, certificate of citizenship)

  • Photocopy of proof of citizenship (must be on white 8.5-inch-by-11-inch standard paper)

  • Present ID (driver’s license, government employment ID, U.S. military ID, etc.)

  • Photocopy of ID Passport photo (color photo taken in the last 6 months)

  • Full list of photo requirements can be found here.

There are additional documents needed to get a passport for children 16 and under. Those requirements can be found at travel.state.gov/.