Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 22, 2010


Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 26 at 10:00 a.m. to mark the official opening of the public area at the Arkansas Passport Center, serving residents of Arkansas and the surrounding region. Invited guests include members of Congress, state and local officials, local community leaders, and members of the media.

The public counters are an addition to the mega-processing facility, which is operated by the Department of State, with the support of CGI Federal Inc., to print passport books and passport cards. Previously closed to the public, the Arkansas Passport Center has produced 30 million passports since its opening in 2007. American citizens with urgent travel plans will now be able to apply for passports in person at the center.

Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Arkansas Passport Center’s counters are located at 191 Office Park Drive in Hot Springs. The mega-processing facility has more than 230 employees.

Recent changes to travel document requirements have increased demand for U.S. passports. Earlier this month, the Department of State opened the Buffalo Passport Agency. Over the next six months, the Department plans to open passport agencies in Atlanta, Georgia; San Diego, California; El Paso, Texas; and St. Albans, Vermont. Public counters were added at another existing passport center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has made all of these projects possible.

Travelers with urgent travel requirements may schedule an appointment at the Arkansas Passport Center or other regional passport agencies, by calling 1-877-487-2778.

Media will have an opportunity to tour the facility and interview Under Secretary Kennedy along with Arkansas and Washington, D.C. passport officials.

CGI works on State Department contracts nationwide to deliver passport application processing services, technology support, and logistics support. CGI has worked with the State Department since 1992, beginning with operations at the National Passport Center in Portsmouth, N.H.

To attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony, contact Stefan Green at 501-622-2452. For press inquiries contact CAPRESSREQUESTS@state.gov or call 202-647-1488.



PRN: 2010/1505