AUSTIN (KXAN) — People showing up for Austin’s passport fair Monday didn’t expect to be turned away.
The event was scheduled from 12 to 6 p.m. However, by 10:45 a.m., the office had already begun pre-screening walk-ins.
Most at Monday’s event were trying to plan ahead to get a passport.
In fact, it’s been hard for some people to get a passport appointment with longer wait times for processing applications throughout the U.S.
It’s why the City of Austin decided to host a passport fair for walk-ins. It usually only processes applications on an appointment-only basis.
Kimberly Rodriguez showed up a couple of hours early because she struggled to get an appointment.
“I started my process, actually a year ago, and I had an appointment at the post office and it got canceled,” Rodriguez said.
Before noon at Austin’s Public Library downtown, at least 100 people showed up. The line extended out double doors on the second floor and looped around the hallway.
Nancy Mathis with Austin Passport Services told a crowd of people they didn’t expect such a major turnout.
“If you’re at the end of the line, more than likely, I’m not going to be able to see you today,” Mathis said.
The office said due to time restraints, and the amount of time it takes to process each application, they were only going to push through 70 applications on Monday.
This left some like Alaina Brogan disappointed.
“I called two days ago to see what I would need to bring and what time to get here, and they just said get here early,” Brogan said. “So, I got here an hour early. And that wasn’t enough.”
A spokesperson for the City of Austin in a statement told KXAN:
The turnout for today’s event demonstrated that there is certainly a lot of demand in the community for walk-in passport services! We will try to plan another walk-in fair in the future, but in the meantime, people may continue to sign up for scheduled appointments at https://library.austintexas.gov/passports.
In the coming weeks, APL will soon be opening Passport Services offices at three additional locations throughout the City, not just at the Central Library. These services will be available starting July 10th at the Ruiz Branch, July 18th at the Recycled Reads Bookstore, and July 24th at the Spicewood Springs Branch.”Baylor Johnson
APL Public Information & Marketing Program Manager
The Rodriguez family was one of the lucky ones able to have their applications processed.
Mathis said Austin Passport Services only books a week out, meaning it should be easier to schedule an appointment through its office compared to others.