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After long lines, passport agency in St. Albans says walk-ins not welcome

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 12:33 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 15, 2021 at 6:52 PM EDT
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ST. ALBANS, Vt. (WCAX) - An overnight policy change sent dozens of people packing who had hoped to get a same-day passport.

I told you Wednesday the U.S. Passport Agency in St. Albans was issuing passports to people without appointments, drawing dozens of passport-seekers from other states.

But that all changed Thursday.

People were met at the door with a flyer that said “APPOINTMENTS ONLY - NO WALK-IN SERVICE.”

After driving six or seven hours to Vermont, a lot of upset people drove back home.

But there was some success and not everyone else left empty-handed.

After four weeks of trying to get an appointment at the Vermont passport agency, Ricky and Sharon Dhall of Westchester, New York, finally got their daughter Saachi’s passport.

They needed Saachi’s passport quickly to attend a wedding in London next week.

They say they got a last-minute call 48 hours ago notifying them of their appointment.

“So we had to flip it around pretty quickly,” they said.

But they started the process of getting a passport months ago. Ricky says it wasn’t easy.

“I think the passport agency and the government’s doing a very poor job on just notifying everyone that there’s a process. There is no process. They’re not answering the phone. They’re not telling you what to do,” Ricky said.

Despite all of the hassle, they’re just happy to have Saachi’s passport in hand.

And the Dhalls were not the only people who walked away on Thursday with a passport.

“They took me and the people that were here yesterday immediately and we got done about 10 o’clock,” said Kevin Wade of San Antonio, Texas.

I interviewed Wade on Wednesday as he stood in line with dozens of other out-of-staters hoping to get issued a passport on the same day. He didn’t get it on Wednesday but he came back Thursday morning and was moved to the front of the line.

In a few hours, he’ll be on a plane to Mexico.

“Yes ma’am. I’ll be leaving out tomorrow morning at 6:30,” Wade said. “It feels great. I’ll be in Cancun by 11 so it’s going to feel really great by then.”

But anyone who showed up for the first time on Thursday wasn’t as lucky. Employees met them at the door with the “no walk-ins” flyer-- a change from the previous day. Many were unhappy to realize they won’t make their upcoming flights.

“I do have a passport but my daughter does not have a passport. It’s urgent to fly to Ukraine because of my family and we don’t know what to do. We had hope here but today... we still have hope but I don’t know,” said Oleksandra Hrbaova of New York City.

I tried to contact the State Department and the Vermont passport agency Thursday for an explanation but did not hear back before this story was published.

Related Story:

Travelers desperate for passports converge on St. Albans

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