Media Note Office of the Spokesman Washington, DC August 19, 2003

National Passport Information Center (NPIC) Expanded Service

As of today, the public can obtain passport information by calling a toll-free telephone number. The National Passport Information Center (NPIC), the Department s single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information, has moved from 1-900 fee-for-service to toll-free service.

This change is the result of a new contract with AT&T that greatly expands the public s access to passport information.

The new, general telephone number is 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778). For TDD/

TTY users, the number is 1-888-874-7793. Live operators are now available on weekdays from 8:00am to 8:00pm, Eastern Time. Twenty-four hour, 7-day access to automated information continues to be available.

Callers to the previous, fee-for-service 1-900 number will, at no charge, be directed to call the new number.

Another significant improvement will be the addition of e-mail access to the National Passport Information Center at Typically, a response will be sent to e-mail inquiries within 24-hours during normal business days.

This service expansion complements the vast amount of passport and other international travel information readily available on the Department of State s Bureau of Consular Affairs website, [End]

Released on August 19, 2003