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News, Tips & Bargains : Beat the Crowds--Get Your Passport Now

January 02, 1994

Get your passport now and beat the summer rush.

The State Department, which issued more than 4 million U.S. passports in 1993, expects demand to remain high in 1994 because of discounted international air fares and because several million 10-year passports are expiring.

Passport offices are deluged with travelers in the spring and summer, but demand is generally lower now through February.

The most convenient way to apply for a passport is at one of the 3,500 designated post offices or clerks of the court, where the lines are generally shorter than at the 13 passport agencies around the United States. In Los Angeles, the passport agency is at the Federal Building in Westwood, 11000 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 13100. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The agency has a detailed tape recording covering all aspects of passport applications and renewals. The line is heavily used and often busy. Keep calling. The number is (310) 575-7070. In many cases, you can renew your passport by mail. Instructions are covered in the tape recording.

The State Department has issued a pamphlet with more information on applying for a passport and traveling abroad. To obtain a copy of "Passports: Applying for Them the Easy Way," send 50 cents to the Consumer Information Center, Pueblo, Colo. 81009.

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