Romney: Utahns are very anxious to have a passport office in Salt Lake City

Romney welcomes Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs to Utah in continued effort to bring passport agency to Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY—Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) today continued his longstanding effort to bring a passport agency to Salt Lake City by welcoming Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Rena Bitter, and representatives from the U.S. Department of State, to Utah. Throughout the week, the State Department, in coordination with the Utah Congressional Delegation, hosted five “passport fairs” throughout the state to provide Utahns with an opportunity to obtain passport services closer to home. 

Senator Romney and Assistant Secretary Bitter met to discuss the planned expansion of in-person consular affairs services then visited the Salt Lake City passport fair. In December, Romney secured several provisions into law aimed at improving passport services for Utahns. More information about those efforts can be found here.    

“The reason I’m here is that I want to encourage the State Department to open a passport office in Salt Lake City—[it’s] pretty straightforward. We have a lot of people in Utah who do a lot of travel internationally… If they need to see someone in person, they have to travel several hundred miles because the closest office is [in] Denver,” said Senator Romney. “We passed legislation that I helped author that says let’s expand the number of passport offices… We’ve been able to show that the people in Utah are very anxious to have a passport office here such that emergencies can be dealt with on a person-to-person basis… I’m delighted to have Assistant Secretary Bitter here and appreciate her willingness to organize this for us… Within the first day or two, we had some 1,500 people sign up to get their passports renewed or issued for the first time, so [there’s] great interest for this service and we’d like to see more of it.”

“This is one of the first times that we’ve been able to do such an extensive passport outreach event. We’ve been able to do it with the leadership of Senator Romney and the rest of the Utah delegation who wanted to bring this event here to benefit their constituents. We’re really, really excited to be here,” said Assistant Secretary Bitter. “We encourage people to keep your passport current at all times—go home, check the expiration date, and make sure that you have a passport that is valid for travel.”

On the next steps for opening a passport agency in Salt Lake City: “We’re doing the research that’s required by the law that Senator Romney helped get passed… The requirement is to have an agency located in population centers so that it’s less than a five-hour drive to be able to get an emergency passport appointment… We should have it completed in the next couple of months, and then after that, we’ll get the ball rolling,” said Assistant Secretary Bitter.