Friday, September 23, 2011

Passports and the Registry of Deeds

Several years ago the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds became a passport acceptance facility for the US State Department.  Several of us went through the necessary training to become passport acceptance agents.  As such, we were authorized to accept applications for new and renewed passports which we would transmit to a central facility for processing. 

Being the entry-point for passports carries much responsibility.  While the overwhelming majority of those filing applications are doing so for legitimate purposes, instances of fraud and wrong doing do exist and the consequences of a fraudulent passport being issued could be extremely serious.  For that reason, the Passport Bureau provides excellent and intense training to its agents and oversees operations very closely.  Those of us authorized to handle passport matters all took the training and all required refresher courses.  It was time consuming but very interesting.

Through the years, however, the number of customers who used our passport service never grew very much, certainly not enough to justify the time we devote to staying current on providing the service.  I think that's mostly due to the fine service provided by the Lowell Post Office's passport office which handles almost all of the passport business in this city.  For this reason, we have asked the US Passport Office to withdraw the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds from its list of authorized passport agents and are now out of the passport business. 

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