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U.S. Department of State
96/08/23 Statement: Record Number of US Passports Issued
Office of the Spokesman


Press Statement by Glyn Davies/Acting Spokesman 
August 23, 1996



Record Number of U.S. Passports Issues: 5 Million Customers Served


We are pleased to announce that the Department of State's Office of 
Passport Services has issued its five millionth passport since October 
1, 1995.  With six weeks left in fiscal year 1996, we estimate that 5.6 
million passports will be issued in FY 1996, a record number and a 6 
percent increase over last year.  Taking into account the furloughs, 
which shut passport agencies for all but emergency issuances for six 
weeks this winter, this represents an impressive accomplishment by the 
800 employees of Passport Services.

The New York and Los Angeles Passport Agencies lead all 15 agencies in 
serving walk-in customers, assisting approximately 3,000 people per week 
at each location during the peak summer travel period.  We have kept 
workload under control through a variety of measures, including 
transfers between agencies, a new automated appointment system in New 
York, and hardware upgrades.  We look forward to the institution of the 
new National Passport Information Center (1-(900)-service) beginning in 
late November 1996, which will ensure prompt, efficient telephone 
information service for our customers, and which will allow Passport 
Services employees to concentrate on the business of issuing passports.

Passport applications continue to rise for a variety of reasons.  More 
than 40 million Americans traveled overseas in 1995.  The record number 
of newly-naturalized American citizens applying for their first 
passport, and the several million people who must renew their 10-year 
passports have contributed to the higher demand.  

We would like to take this opportunity to remind those who need a new 
passport that the best time to apply for a passport is between the 
months of October through February when demand is usually lower.  The 
most convenient way to apply is at one of the 3,500 designated post 
offices or clerks of court where the lines are generally shorter than at 
the 15 passport counter agencies around the U.S.  To find the nearest 
location to apply, consult a clerk-of-court, a post office or the 
closest passport agency.  Applicants may also wish to visit our Internet 
site at:  http://travel.state.gov for additional travel information and 
specific service locations. 
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