On-campus passport office now open

by Maria del Carmen Huerta, Senior Staff Writer

San Diego State students, faculty and staff looking to obtain their passport can look no further than the new passport acceptance facility located next to the International Student Center near the corner of 55th Street and Aztec Circle Drive on campus.

The new facility, which officially opened on Monday, April 4, is one of only four passport acceptance facilities in San Diego County that operate on a walk-in, no appointment necessary basis.

Passport needs, such as passport photos, copy services and passport fee calculations, are offered on site for individuals looking to study abroad.

“We talked to some other facilities that had walk-in appointments and felt it was easier for students and everyone because it fit their schedules,” International Student Center Director Noah Hansen said. “It works better that way.”

The passport office will serve as a one-stop shop for individuals to process and submit their passport documents without the burden of having to go off campus to apply for a passport.

Hansen said more and more SDSU students are studying abroad and the university wishes to support them by providing an accessible location for them to get their passport on campus.

Last year SDSU was ranked No. 15 in the nation for the number of students studying abroad, according to the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors report. The report showed a 14 percent increase in the number of SDSU students studying abroad in 2015 compared to 2014.

The increase in interest in studying abroad among SDSU students coincides with SDSU’s strategic plan, Building on Excellence, which is geared toward increase student participation in study abroad programs by 30 percent throughout a five-year period.

Rosamaria Pablo, a sustainability senior and International Student Center study abroad peer advisor, studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey in spring 2014 and in Bilbao, Spain in Fall 2015. She said she wished the passport office had been open when she first considered studying abroad.

“In spring 2014 my passport had actually expired,” Pablo said. “It would have been really great to have a passport office here, especially because it is so convenient, you know, and it’s on campus. It would have made it a lot more easier in terms of time.”

She said the new passport office on campus has made it extremely convenient for students interested in obtaining their passport because it cuts the transportation cost of having to go to the San Diego passport agency in downtown to make an appointment.

The passport office is open Monday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

An official ribbon-cutting for the passport office will be held on April 26 at 3:30 p.m.