How should I go about obtaining the details of approved passport expeditors around the country?
I know that it is controlled by the Department of State but allocated at the regional passport office level. I believe they are also referred to as hand carry couriers. There is no way to confirm who is actually an approved vendor and who is pretending to be.
Thanks for any thoughts and insight.
I am really curious about this too! (I have previously asked the outsourced visa processing arm of a UK consulate how expediter registration works, and didn’t get a good answer then, either.)
I looked at the US Department of State page on expeditors/couriers, which doesn’t say anything about approval or registration for passport expeditors, and then I actually called up the National Passport Information Center to get some more info. The person I spoke with said there is no such thing as individual expeditors/couriers registering or being approved with Department of State. (To summarize what he said: there’s an additional letter or piece of paperwork that an applicant can fill out that gives a third party authority to submit an application on her behalf and to receive the finished passport on her behalf, but that’s something anyone can do.)
But also the “get a passport in a hurry” page says “Passport expeditor/courier companies are private entities, some of which are registered at our passport agencies, and are allowed to submit expedited passport applications on behalf of customers.”\ So here are some thoughts about records you could ask for:
As of May 2018, the State Department is doing a survey of people who used expeditor/courier services; you could ask for information coming out of that survey.
The A Briggs memberships page and Travisa Associations & Memberships page mention some interesting organizations: the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE), Secure Passport and Visa Services Alliance (SPVSA), and Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). The SPVSA looks pretty interesting here and you could ask for records pertaining to SPVSA — to quote the A Briggs site,
The Secure Passport and Visa Services Alliance (SPVSA) is an organization committed to addressing the long-term visa and passport industry’s business and policy needs. It was created to build better communication between the Department of State and Foreign Consulates. As a member of the association, CIBT ensures that we exceed the association’s requirements, known as the Code of Conduct. The Code ‘details the practices members must follow to market their company, to conduct business with US Passport Services and the embassies and consulates of foreign governments, to protect customer privacy, to keep clients accurately informed on passport and visa rules and the processing progress of the client’s passport and visa, and to protect the personally identifiable information of clients.’ As part of this established and professional organization, you can feel assured that A Briggs sets the standard of ethical conduct for all passport and visa processing.
I did a little more digging. I bet the predecessor to SPVSA was (is?) NAPVS, the National Association of Passport and Visa Services. According to this LinkedIn profile, NAPVS was formed in May 2004, then in June 2015 CIBT and Travisa formed SPVSA, and then “Alliance ended after Travisa was purchased by CIBT.” Which would explain why I can’t seem to find a website for SPVSA.
Last thought (bureaucracy logistics): within the Department of State, there’s the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and within that is Passport Services which includes passport agencies and centers.