California State University, Long Beach
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Photo by David J Nelson
Participants in the Sept. 25 grand opening of the new passport facility on campus included (l-r) Career Development Center director Manuel Pérez, President F. King Alexander, ASI Vice President Chris Chavez, ASI President Erin Swetland, Los Angeles Passport Agency Customer Service Manager Howard Josephs and Vice President for Student Services Doug Robinson.

Robinson's Vision Becomes Reality, Passport Office Opens at CSULB

Doug Robinson had a vision – a diploma in one hand and a passport in the other for all graduates.

Now, with the introduction of a U.S. Passport Application Acceptance Facility to campus on Sept. 25, that vision has moved a step closer to becoming a reality.

“The idea of providing a full-service passport service has been a part of my vision for the university for many years,” said Robinson, the Vice President for Student Services at CSULB. “When I initially proposed the idea back in the mid-1990s, I allowed myself to be talked out of moving forward by a few of my close associates. Now, as well as then, the concept makes a great deal of sense for a university located on the Pacific Rim and in ‘the International City.’ One of the world’s largest and most important ports is located right here in Long Beach.”

This time around, Robinson wasn’t dissuaded. He asked Manuel Perez, the director of the Career Development Center (CDC), to check into the possibility of getting passports for students.

“He approached me wanting to find a way to encourage students to get passports and asked me to look into it,” said Perez. “I came back to him and said, yes, we can get applications and pass them out and encourage students to apply, but he asked why can’t we actually have an office that processes them here on campus?”

Perez did more research and found that UC Irvine has a passport office. He then contacted the U.S. Department of State to learn about the application process to have CSULB become a site, the official name being a U.S. Passport Application Acceptance Facility. He submitted the application to the Department of State in January and in early August got the official notification the university had been designated as an official site. It will be housed in the CDC in Brotman Hall, Room 250. And though there are actually thousands of similar facilities throughout the United States, according to Perez, most are in post offices, with only a handful of universities in California having such sites.

“The whole idea that Dr. Robinson had was that this campus is known for its international programs and we have become a global society; today’s workers and in the future need to be able to work all over the world,” said Perez. “What better way to get students to think globally than encouraging them to get a passport? This will allow them to maybe experience an internship or study abroad. So, I think this passport program will really help encourage students to think globally and travel the world. UC Irvine has been very successful with its program and I think we can be equally as successful.”

The passport office will assist clients – students, faculty, staff and community members – with the application process, making sure the forms are filled out correctly, shooting passport photos and taking all the other documentation that is needed such as a birth certificate, as well as collecting the fees and submitting everything to the Department of State.

The cost of passports is $75 for adults and $60 for children under 16. In addition, there is a processing fee of $25. Also, individuals can get passport cards for $20 for adults and $10 for children under 16. Passport cards allow an individual to enter Canada and Mexico by land. Passports and passport cards take approximately four weeks to receive once all the proper documents are processed.

Initially, the campus passport office will be open Monday and Wednesday from 2-6 p.m., and Tuesday and Thursday, 11-3 p.m., but those hours could change depending on demand. Individuals will be served by appointment-only basis.

“The most compelling reason for offering this service is the university's desire to produce graduates who are prepared to participate at all levels in the global economy. This preparation begins with the university's ability to support study-abroad experiences for our students and other members of the university community,” said Robinson. “The convenience of being able to apply for a passport right here on campus should provide our greater university community, including local residents, with an advantage that students and faculty at other universities do not have. I envision a time in the future when our students cross the stage at commencement with a diploma and a passport. When this occurs, the university will have done its part to help them become true citizens of the world.”

For more information on the U.S. Passport Application Acceptance Facility located at CSULB and/or the application process, visit its Web site or call 562/985-7790.