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Hawaii NewsKokua Line

Kokua Line: U.S. passport renewals now take 10 to 12 weeks with routine handling

Question: Has the passport situation gotten any better? I was going to renew last spring but everything was shut down and it was taking forever so I didn’t even bother trying

Answer: Yes. “You can now apply for routine service and expect to receive a passport in 10 to 12 weeks (with some exceptions). You also have the option of paying an additional $60 for expedited service to receive your passport in 4 to 6 weeks,” according to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, which posted an update about passport operations on Feb. 2.

It encourages people to apply by mail if they are eligible to do so, because some in-person acceptance facilities remain closed and because mail service reduces physical contact.

You should be able to renew by mail if your passport was issued within the past 15 years, when you were 16 or older, your name remains the same (or you can document a name change) and the passport is undamaged and in your possession.

If you are not eligible to renew by mail, you can check iafdb.travel.state.gov to find out which Passport Acceptance Facilities are open for in-person service. Several U.S. post offices, including the one at the Honolulu airport, are listed as offering appointments, which can be made at usps.com/international/passports.htm.

To answer another reader: The Hawaii State Library is not an option; its passport service remains suspended.

For more information, go to travel.state.gov.

Q: I apparently had a very mild case of coronavirus earlier in the pandemic. I never felt sick, but I turned up positive at one of those testing sites over the summer. Should I still get vaccinated?

A: Yes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says on its prevaccination checklist for COVID-19 vaccines that “vaccination should be offered to persons regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Vaccination of persons with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be deferred until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met for them to discontinue isolation. Persons with documented acute SARS-CoV-2 infection in the preceding 90 days may delay vaccination until near the end of this period, if desired, because current evidence suggests reinfection is uncommon during this time. Viral testing to assess for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection or serologic testing to assess for prior infection solely for the purpose of vaccine decision-making is not recommended.”

Unemployment Spotlight

Anne Perreira-Eustaquio, the director of Hawaii’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, is scheduled to appear on Friday’s edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii series. The show will air live at 10:30 a.m. on the newspaper’s Facebook page; its hosts welcome readers’ questions.

Readers who view the conversation live at facebook.com/staradvertiser can submit questions that may be answered during the show. Or they can catch up on the conversation later on the newspaper’s website or YouTube channel. Either way, it’s a chance for readers to get more information about how the state is handling unemployment benefits, a perennial topic for Kokua Line readers.

Spotlight Hawaii livestreams at 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, featuring hosts Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies, who highlight topics of broad interest. Recent guests have included Hawaii’s elected leaders at the national, state and local levels, along with health experts, tourism industry executives, and others.

Go to 808ne.ws/spot lighthawaii to watch previous conversations and to view the rest of this month’s schedule, which includes Gov. David Ige, who is scheduled to appear Monday.

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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