The Village of Palmetto Bay opened its new Passport Acceptance Facility at Village Hall with a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday, May 13. Village officials and staff attended, as did an agent from the Miami Passport Office.
The event began at 9 a.m. in the lobby; then at 9:10 a.m. in the council chambers welcoming remarks were made by Mayor Karyn Cunningham, with an assist from Councilmembers Patrick Fiore and Marsha Matson.
“After many months, we are so happy to be opening our new U.S. Passport Acceptance Facility here at Village Hall,” Mayor Cunningham said. “Under the direction of our Village Clerk’s Office we have been working with the U.S. Department of State to offer this service to first-time applicants. This location will offer a convenient, user-friendly place for travelers to apply for a passport without having to travel to downtown Miami to do so.
“I’d like to personally thank our village clerk, Missy Arocha, and her assistant, Melissa Dodge, for all of the hard work they’ve put into the project…”
Mayor Cunningham then called on Arocha to explain how the facility will work. Arocha, who is now also the Passport Acceptance Facility manager, said that necessary forms and information are there, and assistance will be provided. Processing time for routine applications is expected to be four to six weeks and applicants can check their status by logging onto www.travel.state.gov.
“Palmetto Bay has always been a wonderful place to live, work and play,” Arocha added. “With the opening of our new U.S. Passport Acceptance Facility we also hope it will be a very time saving, convenient place, too.”
The project began on Apr. 18, 2018 when the council authorized and directed the clerk to submit written notification to the U.S. State Department about the village’s intent to have the facility. On Sept. 24, 2018 the village was granted authorization, and it took about six months to complete the design and construction needed for remodeling.
A number of people already have inquired about getting passports there, and the first application was accepted shortly after the official ceremony. Keith Pilkington, who serves as the village cashier, handed in his completed application to Arocha and Dodge in the new facility.
“I wanted to get one, but I also hoped to be remembered as the first person who got one here,” Pilkington said. “I don’t have any plans to travel at the moment, but, if I do, I’ll be ready.”
The Passport Acceptance Facility will be open during normal Village Hall hours, and can only process first time applications, not renewals. The staff will take a photo to submit with the application. For information call 305-259-1234.