Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The Department published an interim final rule, Public Notice 5888, Vol. 72
Eight comments were submitted in response to the request for comments. Two were unsolicited business offers and one was a test e-mail to ascertain the accessibility of the e-mailbox being used. Five were substantive comments, including comments submitted by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
Three individuals expressed concern that the publication of the expedited passport processing standard on the Department's Web site would not provide sufficient notice of the standard to the public.
The Department indicates on its Web site the date on which any change to the number of business days constituting expedited passport processing becomes effective. Moreover, the number of business days that constitutes expedited passport processing is a matter of policy determined by the Department. Under 5 U.S.C. 553(b), statements of general agency policy are not subject to the requirement of notice and comment rulemaking. Thus, any modifications of the policy regarding what constitutes expedited passport processing, including changes to the number of business days that constitute expedited processing, are not subject to notice and comment rulemaking.
While one commenter felt that the link to processing times was too difficult to locate, it should be noted that the link appears at the top of the home page for passport information and as such, is readily accessible to anyone seeking information on U.S. passports. In fact, the
Two commenters stated that Web site publication of the expedited processing standard raised the possibility that applicants paying the expedite fee would not receive the same service and that they would not be able to quickly obtain a passport in case of emergency.
Applicants who request expedited service and pay the expedited processing fee can expect to receive expedited processing within the context of circumstances affecting passport application processing times. Changes to the expedited processing time published on the Web site are intended to reflect those circumstances. In addition, citizens in emergency situations have always been and continue to be a priority to the Department. Applicants with urgent travel needs may apply for expedited processing either by mail or in person at a passport agency.
One commenter suggested that the Department should provide a waiver of the expedited processing fee or a refund for failure to process expedited passport applications within the time published on the Department's Web site. The Department's regulations at 22 CFR 51.53 already provide for a refund of the expedited processing fee in cases where the Department does not provide expedited processing as defined in 22 CFR 51.56. Applicants seeking such a refund of the expedite fee must submit a written refund request to the Department. Such requests may be submitted to the Department by mail at the address provided on the Department's Web site,
One commenter said the interim final rule was procedurally deficient because it sought to incorporate by reference information from the Department's Web site in the regulation. The commenter objected to the Department's alleged failure to follow the procedure for incorporation by reference. However, the rules applying to incorporation by reference—contained in 1 CFR Part 51, which implements 5 U.S.C. 552 (
The Department published this rule as an interim final rule, with a 60-day provision for post-promulgation public comments. The comment period closed on October 15, 2007.
The Department of State, in accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed this regulation, and, by approving it, certifies that this rule is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because only individuals can apply for passports.
This rule will not result in the expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any year and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.
This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996. This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of the U.S.-based companies to compete with foreign based companies in domestic and import markets.
The Department of State does not consider this rule to be a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f). In addition, the Department is exempt from Executive Order 12866 except to the extent that it is promulgating regulations, in conjunction with a domestic agency, that are significant regulatory actions. The Department has nevertheless reviewed the regulation to ensure its consistency with the regulatory and philosophy and principles set forth in Executive Order 12866.
OMB does not consider this rule to be a “significant regulatory action” under Executive Order 12866, section 3(f).
This regulation will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, it is determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to require consultations or warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.
This rule does not impose any new reporting or recordkeeping requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 35.
Consular services, Fees, Passports and Visas.
Administrative practice and procedure, Drug traffic control, Passports and Visas.
8 U.S.C. 1153 note, 1351, 1351 note; 10 U.S.C. 2602(c); 22 U.S.C. 214, 2504(a), 4201, 4206, 4215, 4219; 31 U.S.C. 9701; Public Law 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681
22 U.S.C. 211a, 213, 2651a, 2671(d)(3), 2714, and 3926; 31 U.S.C. 9701; E.O. 11295, 3 CFR, 1966-1970 Comp. p. 570; Sec. 236 Public Law 106-113, 113 stat. 1501A-430; 18 U.S.C. 1621(a)(2); 42 U.S.C. 652, as amended by Sec. 370 Public Law 104-193 and Sec. 7303 Public Law 109-171.
(b) Expedited passport processing shall mean completing processing within the number of business days published on the Department's Web site,