UTD’s International Center will now offer a Passport Services office to ease the application process for students, faculty and the broader Richardson community.
As the country returns to pre-pandemic travel levels, UTD’s International Center—representing students from more than 100 countries—is looking to capitalize on the positive trend and satisfy its mission of bringing the “world to UT Dallas and UT Dallas to the world.”
Though it began receiving applications in March, the office celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 9 and has processed over 1400 passports.
“We did zero marketing. The Department of State had us on their website, so people could search for us,” said Edgar Miranda, Administrative Project Coordinator for the center. “People just started booking appointments.”
The Passport Services office (SSB 3.604) will join the Bursar’s Office, the Career Center, and an array of departments that help students maintain crucial relationships during their time at school. Appointments for applications open every day at midnight and can be scheduled two weeks out on Monday through Thursday, but students should expect a 30-minute wait for individuals and up to an hour for families.
The office will primarily help “first-time applicants and renewals if they are eligible to renew by mail,” Miranda said. Most students fit under this category if they were issued before the age of 16.
“We saw an opportunity that we can basically get involved in this market and bring more revenue to our department,” Miranda said, “so we can use those funds for all of our student programs,”
The facility also provides digital photos for international students when they apply for work visas to remain in the United States.
Once F-1 international students are near finishing their studies, they can apply for temporary employment through an Optional Practical Training (OPT). After international students have attained a degree, they can then apply for an Employment Authorization Document through U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.
“Because we have international students that require photos for their OPT vocations, we can take [their] digital photos,” Miranda said. “We looked at the specific requirements that they were asked to submit and noticed it’s exactly the same passport requirements.”
For both passport and visas, students can have their pictures taken by walk-in appointments in 15 minute sessions.