Joplin Main Post Office sends clerk to help students apply for official documents

Nate Billings

Leaving the country without proper identification can be both illegal and embarrassing.

The Joplin Main Post Office is making the passport application process easier for students.

The office is sending Bob Oldt, passport and claims clerk, to Missouri Southern. From 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oldt will be at a booth on the second floor of the Billingsly Student Center.

“It’ll be a great day,” Oldt said.

He will help students fill out and complete passport applications. Oldt will also have a camera available for passport photos.

“This will be very convenient for our students who are going abroad and do not have a passport already,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies.

Persons wanting a passport must bring a state-certified birth certificate or state-certified Immigration and Naturalization certificate. A photo ID is also required. Applicants do not need to have a Social Security card on hand, but do need to know their Social Security number.

Persons under 17 years old must have a parent or guardian with proper identification present to sign the application form as well.

Passports cost $85 for those 16 and older. For those 15 and younger, passports cost $70. Photos are $16.

Passports may take up to six weeks to complete the verification process and be returned to applicants.

For those wanting their passport in less than two weeks, passports can be expedited for a fee of $87.30.

Stebbins said the idea for the day came from the Post Office, not the University.

He said it was a nice gesture on the Post Office’s part to recognize the Institute and the needs of students.

“A lot of them (students) may not be aware of the passport [process and application],” said Rick Belcher, manager of the Joplin Main Post Office.

The district office out of Kansas City recently decided to promote passport applications in area colleges and universities.

By going to the institutions, the U.S. Post Office can process the passport applications before the system is full from other incoming applications.

Oldt said on an average day, he may process approximately 15 applications.

Stebbins said the event may continue on an annual basis, but he said he could not predict the outcome for the first day.

The day is not limited to students. Anyone with the proper paperwork may apply. Holde said persons should bring two checks for the application fees.