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Kansas Citians struggling to secure passports ahead of international travel

Passport Palooza
Posted at 4:53 PM, Jun 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-02 07:39:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s airport is seeing passenger numbers inch closer to pre-pandemic levels.

KCI is expecting official passenger numbers to hit the 1 million mark in May, something the city has not seen since before the pandemic.

There are some growing pains across the nation as travel numbers take off.

Passport demand has been “unprecedented,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Congress in March.

Kansas residents searching for their ticket to international travel are lining up for help at a local library in Johnson County.

The “passport palooza” event, sponsored by Rep. Sharice Davids(D), aimed to get metro residents their passports ahead of summer travel.

Maria Fileto has tried for weeks to contact passport agencies before heading to Mexico for a family member’s birthday in less than two weeks.

“I called 65 times. I got through the 65th time and it was just a little stressful,” Fileto said. “A little stressed. Stressed because there’s not a great, stable communication right now with the passport agencies.”

This week, Representatives Davids and Emmanuel Cleaver(D) sent a letter to the U.S. State Department asking what’s taking so long for Americans to receive passports and what they’re doing to fix the backlog.

The effort to understand the department’s backlog continues as Americans wait for their passports in the mail.

“Following the updates online and just haven’t seen any progress in that. It’s still saying the same thing when I first logged in,” said Jordan Rudisill.

Rudisill is leaving for his honeymoon in less than two weeks. He applied for a passport in March and was told it would take 8-10 weeks at that time.

Rudisill is still waiting. 

If you don’t have a valid passport there is an option for same day appointments, in a pinch. But you might have to add another flight to your itinerary because there are not any passport agencies in or near Kansas City.

Fileto is willing to make a trip to a passport agency in order to spend time on the beach.

“Make sure to do this a couple years before you have to go on a trip,” said Fileto.