Passport agency with same-day services set to open in Salt Lake City

“I could not be more thrilled,” said Sen. Mitt Romney, who has been lobbying for the move for years.

Good news for Utahns with pre-travel jitters: A new passport agency is set to open in Salt Lake City — so misplacing your passport before catching your flight will soon be a concern that you can easily write off.

The U.S. Department of State announced Tuesday that it plans to build six more passport agencies nationwide. Besides Salt Lake City, the new offices will be located in Kansas City, Mo.; Orlando, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; San Antonio and Cincinnati.

The Department of State’s announcement did not say when the new passport agencies will open.

The agencies will provide same-day services to travelers with urgent travel needs. The new additions are in line with the government’s effort to accommodate the surge in passport demand after the pandemic, bringing the total number of passport agencies and centers to 35 nationwide.

Previously, the closest passport office from downtown Salt Lake City was eight hours away, in Aurora, Colorado. And without a passport agency, getting a new passport through an acceptance facility takes a standard processing time of 10 to 12 weeks. So if you had found out just hours before your flight that your son had scribbled all over your passport or that your dog had chewed it away, you were out of luck. But with a new passport agency, not anymore.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, was excited to hear the news. He posted Tuesday afternoon on X, “Passport demand in Utah is enormous — due in part to our rapid growth and the thousands of missionaries departing SLC each year. After years of work by our team, Salt Lake City is finally getting its own passport agency to provide Utahns with improved, in-person consular services!”

This is a move Romney’s office has been pushing for years. In April 2021, Romney sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken to plead why a passport agency was necessary in the state.

“Utah is rapidly expanding as a center for global commerce and tourism, is home to thousands of Latter-day Saints who annually embark on worldwide religious missions,” Romney wrote to Blinken in 2021.

Over the years, Romney has followed through with his request by getting a measure passed in September 2022 to check where passport agencies are needed the most, and by sending another letter to Blinken last year about the delays in passport processing.

In a news release Tuesday, Romney wrote, “for more than three years, my team and I have worked with the State Department to bring a passport agency to Salt Lake City to improve passport services for Utahns.” He added, “I could not be more thrilled with today’s announcement.”

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox expressed his gratitude. “We’re grateful to Senator Romney and the rest of our Congressional delegation for their great work in bringing a passport office to Utah,” Cox said in a statement. “We’re proud of how many Utahns have international experience and language skills. Having in-person passport services will be an important improvement for Utah residents and will enhance Utah’s international reach.”