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National Passport Information Centers (NPIC)

In the 20 years between 1975 and 1995 the number of passports issued by the U. S. Department of State more than doubled, from just over 2.3 million to nearly 5.3 million. The workload increased more that 70 percent, but the number of employees handling the work remained unchanged. In 1996 the State Department opened the National Passport Information Center (NPIC) to answer the public’s questions about passports. NPIC is a fee-based service; callers either dial a 900 number for up to $1.05 per minute or an 888 number for a flat rate of $4.95 per call. The money collected goes toward running NPIC; the State Department receives no income from the center, nor does the government provide it with tax dollars. The reason the State Department decided to create NPIC was service. With more pass-port-related calls coming in but no additional staff to handle the volume, callers often had to wait on hold, sometimes for lengthy periods. While there was no charge for the service, many callers were frustrated at what they saw as a waste of their time. Thanks to NPIC, waits are shorter and callers are greeted by people who are not nearly so overextended. Today, people calling for anything other than the most basic information about passports will need to call NPIC. The phone numbers are 1-900-225-5674 or 1-888-362-8668. (For the hearing impaired, the TDD numbers are 1-900-225-7778 and 1-888-498-3648.)

Inside National Passport Information Centers (NPIC)