Passport Day in the USA, when U.S. passport agencies open their doors to passport and visa applicants and other members of the public without requiring appointments, has been canceled because of the federal budget crisis. The annual event had been scheduled for Saturday.
A notice Friday from the U.S. State Department, forwarded by Howard Josephs, customer service manager of the Los Angeles Passport Agency, stated:
"Because of a possible government shutdown, the Department of State must cancel 'Passport Day in the USA,' which had been scheduled for Saturday, April 9, 2011. During this annual event, passport agencies and participating passport acceptance facilities nationwide open their doors for U.S. citizens to receive passport services without an appointment. We regret that we cannot offer this service as planned."
No rescheduled date was announced.
The notice came as both sides in the congressional budget showdown continued to negotiate to avoid a shutdown, which could occur by midnight Friday if an agreement is not reached.
Josephs said "we're still awaiting guidance on what would happen" if the shutdown were to occur. He said that in any event, he believed the passport agency would still "assist with life and death emergencies."