Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Brian Higgins (Western District of New York)
Oct 19, 2020
Higgins Pushed for the State Department to Open An Office in Western New York
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) joined Western New York U.S. State Department employees and local leaders to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Buffalo Passport Agency.
“Before the Buffalo Passport Agency office opened, Western New Yorkers calling our office in urgent need of a passport would have to drive 6 to 8 hours to the nearest offices in Detroit or New York City,” said Congressman Higgins. “We argued that Western New York, with its proximity to an international border, needed a site of its own. Federal Recovery Act funding helped with the build-out of the site in 2010 and the hardworking team of employees at the agency have driven the growth of Buffalo’s operations and for a decade now provided quality services to residents in our region and beyond.”
Congressman Higgins, who serves as co-chair of the Northern Border Caucus, led the fight to bring a passport facility to Western New York. In March 2009, Higgins first urged then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to open a passport office in the region in anticipation of new tougher border crossing rules due to the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI). In May 2009 the State Department agreed to locate an agency in Buffalo and the Western New York site was awarded $700,000 in Recovery Act funding toward development of the new agency. In 2010 the U.S. State Department became the first tenant in the $10 million Genesee Gateway historic adaptive reuse project. In early 2015, the agency expanded the size of its passport acceptance region to include 46 of the 62 counties in New York including 304 passport acceptance facilities throughout upstate New York. In 2017 the Buffalo Passport agency doubled its job count and footprint in the Gateway building to allow for additional back-office passport processing serving 51 New York counties and customers from neighboring states.
Prior to the opening of the Buffalo Agency in 2010, only 14 Passport Agencies were available nationwide and Western New Yorkers in urgent need of a passport would be required to travel to the nearest site in New York City. Today Buffalo is one of 26 Passport Agencies serving Americans.
The Buffalo Passport Agency is located at 111 Genesee Street, Suite 101, Buffalo. If you are in urgent need of a passport, an appointment can be made online at: https://passportappointment.travel.state.gov/ or by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 1-877-487-2778/1-888-874-7793 (TTY/TTD). For information on passport forms and fees, visit Travel.State.Gov.