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[Federal Register: August 16, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 158)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 45888-45890]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



22 CFR Parts 22 and 51

[Public Notice: 5888]
RIN 1400-AC39

Passport Procedures--Amendment to Expedited Passport Processing 

AGENCY: Department of State.

ACTION: Interim final rule.


SUMMARY: This interim final rule changes the definition of ``expedited 
passport processing'' from the 3-business day period to a number of 
business days as may be published from time to time on the Department's 
Web site, This change is meant to ensure 
that the Department can continue to offer this service consistent with 
its regulations, despite increases in demand for it. It is also meant 
to ensure that the public can easily determine the current standards 
for expedited passport processing. Further, this interim final rule 
makes a conforming amendment to the Schedule of Fees for Consular 

DATES: Effective date: This interim final rule becomes effective August 
16, 2007.
    Comment date: The Department of State will accept written comments 
from interested persons up to October 15, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may submit comments at any time by any of 
the following methods:
     Mail (paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions): Comments by 
mail are to be addressed to the Office of Legal Affairs and Law 
Enforcement, U.S. Department of State, 2100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., 
Suite 300, Washington, DC 20037.
     Internet: Comments by Internet are to be sent to http:// This notice can also be viewed from this Internet 
     Electronically: You may submit electronic comments to You must include the RIN in the subject 
line of your message. Attachments must be in Microsoft Word.
    Instructions: All submissions must include the agency name and 
docket number. All comments will be posted without change to http://, including any personal information sent with each 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information 
regarding this regulatory amendment should be directed to Susan M. 
Bozinko, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Passport Services, Division of 
Legal Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20037, who may 
be reached at 202-663-2491 or e-mailed at

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 7209 of the Intelligence Reform and 
Terrorism Prevention Act (IRTPA), enacted on December 17, 2004, 
requires the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the 
Secretary of State, to develop expeditiously a plan to require most 
U.S. citizens and certain other categories of individuals to present a 
passport or other documentation of identity and citizenship deemed 
sufficient by the Secretary of Homeland Security when entering the 
United States.
    The Department of State's Office of Passport Services (Passport 
Services) began planning for increased passport demand even before 
Congress passed IRTPA. It planned for a sharp increase in passport 
applications and anticipated the need for increased staff to handle the 
demand. Recognizing the uncertainty of passport demand and the need for 
reliable information to guide its planning efforts, Passport Services 
contracted for a passport demand study in 2005, and used the data from 
this study to initiate a program of resource upgrades for meeting 
    Beginning in February 2007, it became apparent that passport demand

[[Page 45889]]

was growing faster than the study projected. While the demand study 
anticipated a sharp increase in applications, it did not fully 
anticipate the degree and speed with which the American people would 
comply with Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) guidelines. 
Therefore, Passport Services has implemented additional short-term and 
more long-term measures to attempt to address the increase in passport 
demand and provide Americans with passports in a timely and secure 
    Despite these efforts, the surge in passport applications has led 
to increases in processing times, and concurrent increases in requests 
from the public for expedited passport processing. 22 CFR 51.66(b) 
currently sets a 3-business-day standard for processing expedited 
passport applications, commencing when the application reaches a 
Passport Agency or, if the application is already with a Passport 
Agency commencing when the request for expedited processing is 
approved. This standard was set by the Department in 1994, (59 FR 48998 
(Sep. 26, 1994)), to allow Passport Services to provide expedited 
services to applicants with urgent departures, and to recover the costs 
of providing such service. In order to allow Passport Services the 
flexibility to meet the surge in demand for expedited processing, and 
to continue to offer this service to the public consistent with its 
regulations, Passport Services is revising this standard.
    Under the new standard, the public will be notified on the 
Department's Web site,, of the number of 
business days in which the Department is completing expedited 
processing. This will allow the Department flexibility to alert the 
public without delay of the current processing time for expedited 
requests. The public benefits from this change by having accurate 
notice of the service that will be provided to them and from having the 
service available from the Department. We believe this will allow the 
public to continue to consider using expedited processing to self-
select urgent cases.
    We are also amending the Schedule of Fees for Consular Services to 
reflect this change in the expedited passport processing rule.

Regulatory Findings

Administrative Procedure Act

    The Department is publishing this rule as an interim final rule, 
with a 60-day provision for post-promulgation public comments, based on 
the ``good cause'' exceptions set forth at 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B) and 
553(d)(3). Publishing the rule this way will allow the Department to 
make the rule effective at the earliest opportunity, ensuring that 
Passport Services may continue to offer this service to the public 
without interruption and consistent with its regulations. The public 
benefits from having the service available because it allows persons 
wishing to obtain a passport for urgent travel or other reasons to have 
their passport applications processed on an expedited basis. Therefore, 
allowing a comment period followed by a publication of the final rule 
with a further 30 days before its effective date is not practicable or 
in the public interest. Comments received before the end of the comment 
period will be addressed in a final rule.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of State, in accordance with the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed this regulation, and, 
by approving it, certifies that this rule is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
because only individuals can apply for passports.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more in any year and it will not significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary 
under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996. This rule will not 
result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a 
major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on 
the ability of the U.S.-based companies to compete with foreign based 
companies in domestic and import markets.

Executive Order 12866

    OMB considers this rule to be a ``significant regulatory action'' 
under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f). Accordingly, this rule has 
been submitted to OMB for review. In addition, the Department is exempt 
from Executive Order 12866 except to the extent that it is promulgating 
regulations, in conjunction with a domestic agency, that are 
significant regulatory actions. The Department has nevertheless 
reviewed the regulation to ensure its consistency with the regulatory 
and philosophy and principles set forth in Executive Order 12866.

Executive Order 13132

    This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the 
States, on the relationship between the national government and the 
States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the 
various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 
of Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have 
sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant 
the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This rule does not impose any new reporting or recordkeeping 
requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. Chapter 

List of Subjects in 22 CFR Parts 22 and 51

    Passports and Visas.

Accordingly, for the reasons set forth above, Title 22, parts 22 and 51 
are amended as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 22 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1153 note, 1351, 1351 note; 10 U.S.C. 
2602(c); 22 U.S.C. 214, 2504(a), 4201, 4206, 4215, 4219; 31 U.S.C. 
9701; Pub. L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681 et seq.; Pub. L. 108-447, 118 
Stat. 2809 et seq.; E.O. 10718, 22 FR 4632, 3 CFR, 1954-1958 Comp., 
p. 382; E.O. 11295, 31 FR 10603, 3 CFR, 1966-1970 Comp., p. 570.

2. Section 22.1 is amended by revising entry 3 of the table to read as 

Sec.  22.1  Schedule of Fees.

* * * * *

[[Page 45890]]

                 Schedule of Fees for Consular Services
                           Item No.                               Fee
                    Passport and Citizenship Services

                              * * * * * * *
3. Expedited Service: Passport processing within expedited           $60
 processing period published on the Department's Web site (22
 CFR 51.66(b))/or in-person service at a U.S. Passport Agency
 (not applicable abroad).....................................

                              * * * * * * *


4. The authority citation for part 51 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 22 U.S.C. 211a, 213, 2651a, 2671(d)(3), 2714, and 
3926; 31 U.S.C. 9701; E.O. 11295, 3 CFR, 1966-1970 Comp. p. 570; 
Sec. 236 Pub. L. 106-113, 113 stat. 1501A-430; 18 U.S.C. 1621(a)(2); 
42 U.S.C. 652, as amended by Sec. 370 Pub. L. 104-193 and Sec. 7303 
Pub. L. 109-171.

5. Section 51.66(b) is revised to read as follows:

Sec.  51.66  Expedited passport processing.

* * * * *
    (b) Expedited passport processing shall mean completing processing 
within the number of business days published on the Department's Web 
site,, commencing when the application 
reaches a Passport Agency or, if the application is already with a 
Passport Agency commencing when the request for expedited processing is 
approved. The processing will be considered completed when the passport 
is ready to be picked up by the applicant or is mailed to the 
* * * * *

    Dated: August 13, 2007.
Maura Harty,
Assistant Secretary, Consular Affairs, Department of State.
[FR Doc. E7-16173 Filed 8-15-07; 8:45 am]