A California-based visa and passport processing company announced that it would accept Bitcoin as a form of payment as U.S. State Department operations are starting to return to normal.
According to a Nov. 6 announcement by passport and visa expander San Jose-based Peninsula Visa, the company said it would offer customers the option to pay for certain passport services using Bitcoin (BTC). Supported by retail payments facilitator Coinbase Commerce, Peninsula Visa will offer passport renewals and name changes in addition to second passport applications. US citizens over the age of 16 can keep a passport or “primary” card valid for 10 years as well as a second valid for 4 years.
“Giving travelers the ability to pay via Bitcoin seems like the right move at the right time,” said Evan James, Visa COO of the peninsula, citing his hope that the journey will return to normal once the pandemic threat is over.
When government offices and businesses first closed in March following measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, many of the State Department’s 26 passport agencies in the continental US and Puerto Rico were affected. similarly, causing delays in processing passports for the first time. time-seekers as well as those who renew or alter their documents for common events such as marriage. According to an LA Times report, there was a backlog of nearly one million passports as of September 23.
However, many State Department offices have already opened staffed for in-person passport applicants. The government agency announced on November 3 that it had reduced processing time to 10-12 weeks for standard applications and 4-6 weeks for expedited passports: pre-COVID, you could get a passport in person within a week in certain circumstances.
Although private companies have offered Bitcoiners the opportunity to purchase international flights using cryptography, governments appear to have been less than willing to do so for certain services. In June, a Venezuelan government agency briefly listed Bitcoin as a form of payment for passport applications from Venezuelan citizens living abroad before disabling the service the next day.