The Bureau of Consular Affairs (BCA) is the public face of the U.S. Department of State for millions of people who work and travel abroad. BCA is responsible for the welfare and protection of U.S. citizens abroad, for the issuance of passports and other documentation to U.S. citizens and nationals, and for the protection of U.S. border security and the facilitation of legitimate travel to the United States. BCA also has a significant domestic presence, most notably the 29 U.S. Passport agencies and centers, 27 of which deal directly with the U.S. public. BCA has over 7500 domestic passport acceptance facilities that accept passports on behalf of the department, which consist of the U.S. Postal Service, universities, libraries and circuit courts.
BCA’s vast consular activities have broad foreign policy and domestic political implications and involve serious legal, humanitarian, and management concerns. Responsibility for these functions is vested within the Department of State in the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs and for their implementation abroad in consular officers assigned to embassies and consulates abroad. BCA is also the Department’s largest Bureau in terms of domestic personnel and is almost entirely funded through revenue generated by consular fees. This revenue totaled $4.16 billion in 2015, making BCA the equivalent of a Fortune 600 company.THE CHALLENGE
The Mission of Passport Services is to issue secure travel documents to U.S. citizens while providing the highest level of customer service, professionalism, and integrity. Fulfilling this mission poses unprecedented challenges due to ever increasing demand and the high customer service bar set by the private sector.
In 2017, BCA issued a record setting 21,378,994 U.S. passports through its extensive network. In addition to this network of agencies, centers, and facilities customers have the option to contact the National Passport Information Center or access travel.state.gov to provide comments, complaints, or feedback. As such, BCA is faced with the challenge of managing this multi-channel customer experience, maintaining the high standards set forth in the mission statement, and responding to increasingly high customer expectations while meeting record setting demand.
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