Jenkintown Library director provides tips on passport applications during May’s high season

The Jenkintown Library’s passport facility expects to be busy over the coming weeks.

According to Nina Meister, library director, high season starts in May and early June, which can make appointments during that time period hard to come by.

“It’s important for area residents to understand the average timeline and necessary documents for an application,” Meister said. “Around this time, people start making travel plans, and then they find out how long it takes to get a passport. Right now, routine services are running six to eight weeks. Expedited services are two to three weeks,” Meister said.

If you need a passport in less than two weeks, Philadelphia’s urgent travel centers will help you, Meister said.

“If you know that you need a passport for this summer, it’s important to make an appointment sooner rather than later. Right now, we’re booked into mid-May. It’s hard to get a weekend appointment,” she said.

Prior to making an appointment, Meister recommends getting your documents in order. They are as follows:

  • Proof of citizenship (birth certificate, citizenship/naturalization certificate, expired passport)
  • A form of ID (driver’s license, state/military ID, or an expired passort)
  • Any extraneous documentation regarding name changes, custody changes, single-parent and/or guardian situations
  • A 2×2 inch headshot (the library doesn’t take photos)

“Photos are the number one reason people get rejected. The photo has to be clear. It can’t be grainy or pixelated and needs to have a white background and shouldn’t go below the ends of your shoulders. They don’t want you smiling or wearing white or camo print or glasses,” she said.

Payment must come in the form of a check or a money order. The library’s facility fee is $35 and the U.S. Department of State’s fee varies according to the applicant’s age (adult or minor), how quickly the applicant needs the passport, and what type of passport is requested (book, card, or both).

“A U.S. passport book will take you anywhere. It’s for international travel. The U.S. passport card is for domestic travel, Canada, Mexico, and U.S. territories. It’s a plastic ID card and it’s much cheaper than an international passport,” Meister said. “A lot of parents get them for minors.”

The library processes first-time passports, minor passports, and passports that have been expired for more than five years. If your passport does not fit any of these criteria, you can use Form DS-82 to renew your passport yourself.

To make a passport appointment at the Jenkintown Library, you can click here.

In related news, Jenkintown Library Book Club will start anew on Tuesday, June 25 from 5:00pm to 6:30pm.

“It’s been tabled since last summer. We’re hoping to kick it back up,” Meister said.

A book has yet to be selected. A title will be announced on the library’s social media pages and website soon.

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