Submitted by Thurston County Board of County Commissioners
The Thurston County Auditor’s Office will begin providing passport services in October. The Auditor’s Office will become the only passport services agency in Thurston County open five days a week for full business hours.
“We saw a need for new passport services providers in the County given upcoming changes to state law on REAL ID and the significant increase in passport applications over the last few years,” said Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall. Over the last five years, the number of passports issued in Washington State has increased by 51 percent.
The Auditor’s Office received written approval from the U.S. Department of State to become a passport services provider at the end of August after a months-long application process, which included staff training. Thurston County hasn’t provided passport services since it suspended services in 2009 due to budget cuts.
The demand for passports is expected to continue to rise as a result of the state’s implementation of REAL ID identification requirements. Standard driver’s licenses (non-enhanced) and ID cards will no longer be accepted at airports beginning October 2020. Passengers will need enhanced drivers licenses or passports to board commercial airlines.
The Auditor’s Office expects to serve between 3,000 and 8,000 customers each year. Current passport services providers in Thurston County include the Olympia Post Office, the City of Lacey, and Yelm Municipal Court. In addition to the new passport services, the Auditor’s Office provides licensing, document recording, elections, and internal county financial services.
The Auditor’s Office will announce the first day of passport services when a completion date for office renovations associated with the new services is finalized. For more information about passport services, please visit the Auditor’s Office Passports webpage.