Bitcoin is Now Accepted as Passport Application Fee in US
A California based company offering visa and passport related services has revealed its willingness to accept Bitcoin as a mode of payment. The announcement is significant in the sense that the US State Department’s functioning is limping to normalcy.
As per a media release by passport and visa service provider Peninsula Visa, which has office in San Jose, clients will have the choice of making payment for preferred services using Bitcoin (BTC). The facility has been made a reality with the support of retail payment facilitator Coinbase Commerce.
Peninsula Visa offers services such as passport renewals and amendments of names and also inclusion of any specific particulars associated with second passports. The US citizens above the age of 16yrs are permitted to have a “primary” passport book, with validity of 10 years, along with a second passport valid for 4 years.
Peninsula Visa COO Evan James, believes that travel would be back to normal soon after the threat from pandemic ends. “Offering travelers the ability to pay via Bitcoin feels like the right move at the right time.”
Back in March, when government offices and businesses were shut down for the first time to contain Covid-19, out of the 26 passport agencies run across the US and Puerto Rico by the State Department, many of them temporarily stopped functioning.
That caused postponements in processing of passport applications submitted by first-time applicants and also those amending or modifying their records based on events such as marriage. As per a news release by LA Times, the country had a backlog of one million passports as of September 23.
Nevertheless, several State Department’s offices have already reopened to deal with people who physically apply for passports. The government agency has announced that it would slash processing period to between 10 and 12 weeks for general applications and 4-6 weeks for fast-track passports, which is delivered in a week’s time upon fulfilling certain criteria.
Even though private airlines have started facilitating Bitcoin holders to book air tickets utilizing crypto, governments were not too eager to offer services by accepting Bitcoin as payment. Back in June, a Venezuelan government agency started accepting Bitcoin as a mode of payment for passport apps from overseas Venezuelan citizens, but the service lasted only for a day.