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SPECIAL DIRECTORY ISSUE / SOURCEBOOK

Getting a Passport

April 18, 1999|MAUREEN MURPHY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Getting a U.S. passport to travel the world is a simple process (for most Americans) that starts at your local post office. Ask there for the location of the closest post office designated to handle passport applications for the State Department. There are 65 of these post office acceptance facilities in Central and Southern California, a dozen in the city of Los Angeles alone. These offices also have passport information and applications.

The passport agency in the Federal Building in West Los Angeles no longer handles routine applications, only emergency applications by appointment. These are for travel within 14 days and require proof of urgency such as airline tickets. For information: telephone (310) 575-5700.

General passport information is available 24 hours a day from the National Passport Information Center, telephone (900) 225-5674. A fee of 35 cents a minute will be charged to the caller's phone. It takes about seven minutes to hear all of the general information. On weekdays from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m., a service representative can be accessed at any point in the message by dialing 0 (zero). The service representative can tell you which post offices taking applications are convenient to your ZIP code. Contact with the service representative costs $1.05 per minute.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Sunday April 25, 1999 Home Edition Travel Part L Page 6 Travel Desk 1 inches; 25 words Type of Material: Correction
Passports--The Internet address for State Department passport information was incorrect ("Getting a Passport," April 18). The correct address is http://travel.state.gov.

If you are using a phone that can't be billed, the same information is available at (888) 362-8668. This costs $4.95, billed to your credit card.

Forms and information also can be accessed from the State Department's Internet site: http://travel.state.org.

Some basics:

To obtain a passport for the first time, or to renew a lost or expired passport, the application must be made in person at a designated post office.

A valid, unexpired passport can be renewed by mail. Obtain forms at a post office or download from the Web site.

The cost is $60 for an adult passport, $40 for renewal, $40 for a child's. Payment must be by check or cash in the exact amount. You will need proof of citizenship, photo I.D. such as a driver's license and two new 2-by-2-inch photos.

The passport office aims to process applications within 3 1/2 weeks, but it can take six or more weeks in the busy summer travel season. For an additional $35, you can request expedited service, which promises that the application will be processed and mailed within three working days of receipt by the agency.

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