Informer: Passports, undesired trip on readers’ minds

By By Andrew Perzo / American Press

The Informer recently received two questions on passports — one on whether the document is essential for a particular trip

and the other on why Lake Charles residents must now travel elsewhere to conduct passport business.

No. 1

I am going on an Alaskan cruise in a couple of months do I need a passport?

It depends on where the cruise starts

and ends, but it would be a good idea to have one with you, just in case

something happens.

If the cruise — and this goes for Caribbean jaunts as well — begins and ends in the same port, it’s known as a “closed-loop

cruise” and no passport is required.

“U.S. Citizens on closed-loop cruises

will be able to enter or depart the country on the cruise with proof of

citizenship,

such as an original or copy of his or her birth certificate

(issued by the Vital Records Department in the state where he

or she was born) and, if 16 or older, a government issued photo

ID,” reads the website of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

If, however, the cruise begins at one U.S. port and ends at another — and makes a foreign port of call — you need a passport.

For more information, contact the cruise line or visit the websites listed below.

No. 2

I went to the post office on Moss Street to renew my passport and was told they no longer renew there, that I would have to

go to Oakdale, Bell City or Jennings. Really? Oakdale? Bell City? What’s up with this?

In response to The Informer’s inquiry, McKinney Boyd, a Postal Service spokesman, issued the following statement: “We are

working with the State Department to establish alternate options to process passports for residents in Lake Charles.”

Places within 50 miles of Lake Charles where passport business can be conducted, along with the addresses and phone numbers

for each, according to the State Department’s website:

Bell City Post Office, 7206 B St., 622-3768.

Jefferson Davis Clerk of Court’s Office, 300 State St., Jennings, 824-1160.

DeRidder Post Office, 116 East Fourth St., 337-462-8852.

Groves (Texas) Post Office, 6230 39th St., 409-962-5361.

Port Neches (Texas) Post Office, 1324 Port Neches Ave., 409-729-8894.

Vidor (Texas) Post Office, 285 South Archie St., 409-783-2074.

Acadia Parish Clerk of Court’s Office, 50 N.E. Court Circle, Crowley, 337-788-8881.

Nederland (Texas) Post Office, 223 North 14th St., 409-729-8830.

Oakdale Post Office, 240 East Sixth Ave., 318-335-9809.

Online: www.usps.com; travel.state.gov; getyouhome.gov; cpb.gov

Report street issues to public works

Who can I call to report problems with Lake Charles city streets?

You can call the city’s Public Works Department at 491-1220 or the Mayor’s Action Line at 491-1346.

Online: www.cityoflakecharles.com.

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com