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City staff honors Passport Day by working rare Saturday
by Damian Tromerhauser
Mar 06, 2013 | 2138 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For many families, a trip overseas is a life-long dream. With the summer months fast approaching, many people are hoping to turn those dreams into a reality. Luckily for those in and around the Rail City, National Passport Day is this Saturday, March 9, and for the first time the City of Sparks will be taking part.

Through all the planning and budgeting that goes into scheduling a dream vacation to another country, one of the trickiest steps, and yet most vital, is finding time to obtain a passport. With normal business hours at the Sparks Customer Service Department being 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday, many people have trouble fitting a window into their day to get the most necessary of documents to travel. Thanks to National Passport Day, there is now a little more time as it will be the only Saturday of the year when people will be able to come in for passports, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We have noticed an increase in passport requests and wanted to give people the opportunity to get a passport at a time that is more convenient for them,” said Chris Syverson, Sparks Employee and Customer Relations Manager. “For example, if a family has children who need passports, both parents have to be present, and they would have to rush over after school hours.”

National Passport Day, which occurs twice a year, will allow those trying to balance work, life and a dream trip, an opportunity to check off the important to-do. And while locals will be able to visit the Sparks Customer Service Department, located at Sparks City Hall at 431 Prater Way, in order to take the essential steps to get or renew their passport, you will not be able to get a passport at an official passport agency. According to the State Department website, Department of State Passport Agencies will not be participating in National Passport Day due to the budget sequestration, making the City of Sparks participation even more convenient.

Another convenience will be the fact that passports will be the lone focus of the day. Hoping to cut down wait times, no other business that is usually handled Monday through Friday such as building permits and business licenses will be dealt with, leaving the entire staff on hand to help with passports.

Although the Sparks Customer Service Department is not sure what to expect as far as turnout is concerned, it is hoping plenty of people make the most of the day.

“We’re hoping that we’re busy and people take advantage of it,” said Nancy Munson, City of Sparks Administrative Secretary. “Since we are opening Saturday just for passports, we’re hoping to accomplish the opportunity just to make it more convenient. We want to allow people to come in and get a new passport or renew it where they don’t have to take time off from work in order to do so. Making this available during Saturday will hopefully increase our volume and allow more people to get that done and handled.”

With passports being the only thing taken care of on Saturday, wait times are estimated to be just 10 to 20 minutes. Those who take advantage of Passport Day can expect to receive passports within four to six weeks. For an additional fee, passports can be expedited in two to three weeks.

In order to be ready for Passport Day, the City of Sparks recommends preparing by completing an original passport application in black ink only. Applications can be found at the City of Sparks Customer Service Department or online at www.travel.state.gov.

Participants will also need to bring a certified U.S. birth certificate or original naturalization certificate, as well as a valid U.S. diver’s license, state-issued ID card or current U.S. passport. For minors seeking a passport, both parents must be present with valid picture IDs. Check or money order for each individual passport fee also is required.

For more information on Passport Day, including the fees associated with obtaining a passport, contact the City of Sparks Customer Service Department at 775-353-5555. 
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