A major California-based passport services company has announced that it accepts Bitcoin as a payment method for some of its passport services. The announcement came after the US State Department reopened such apps after a hiatus caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Peninsula VISA, the San Jose, California-based passport services company, has announced this bold move as part of its outreach to users of all stripes. Users will be able to pay with Bitcoin and obtain their passports in 4 weeks according to the company. Current services offered to Bitcoin users include name change applications and second passport book applications. Americans are entitled to 2 passport books; the former acts as the main document with a validity of 10 years, while the secondary is valid for only 4 years. These VISA books can be ordered as soon as Americans legally turn 16.
According to Peninsula Visa COO Evan James:
"Offering travelers the ability to pay via Bitcoin feels like the right move at the right time."
He goes on to say that the pandemic is forcing people to pay for their passport remotely and Bitcoin was proving to be a reliable remote payment method. According to company sources, users will be able to pay for their passports using a Coinbase Commerce payment gateway. This approach will allow users to pay in Bitcoin and will eliminate the need for the business to do infinite conversions on its own.
Covid-19 wreaks havoc in the passport service industry
The Covid-19 crisis wreaked considerable havoc on the passport services industry. Most agencies in the US were closed for an extended period, as the State Department was closed for an extended period. According to the LA Times, a backlog of nearly 1 million cases was witnessed in the country at one time. Now that the offices are about to reopen, the time to process passport applications has been reduced from 10 to 12 weeks for standard applications to more than 4 to 6 weeks for expedited applications.
However, the numbers remain to be seen, as with every new crypto payment service in town. The company would be looking for a higher volume of business from its customers, but ultimately the actual use will be important in the long run.