Texas Tech University

Staff Spotlight: Emily Saiz – Passport Acceptance Agent

Emily Saiz describes herself as a "people person", which makes her perfect for the position of Passport Acceptance Agent at the Office of International Affairs (OIA), where her duties require that she interacts with the public on a daily basis. Emily has worked at Texas Tech for more than 40 years – first in the Travel Services and then in the Department of Plant and Soil Science. In addition to her responsibilities in the passport office, Emily also helps with export control and processing the office travel vouchers.

emily saiz

Many Lubbockites are unaware that the OIA passport office is not just for Texas Tech personnel, but is open to the general public. It was established about 10 years ago and last year processed more than 3,100 passport applications. Because of agents like Emily, the OIA passport office has earned the reputation as a stress-free place to get a passport in Lubbock.

Tell me about your duties as the Passport Acceptance Agent and the process of getting a U.S. passport.

"As a passport acceptance agent, I am authorized by the U.S Department of State to accept applications for United States passport books and cards. You can get an application form from our office or online. You will also need a previously issued passport, certified birth certificate, or naturalization certificate; two passport size photos; a driver's license or other state issued photo ID; and a check or money order for the fees." (Go to the passport page on the OIA website for more information - http://www.depts.ttu.edu/international/intlopr/passport.php.)

Here are Emily's helpful hints about how to make the process of applying for a passport go smoothly:

  1. Be sure you have the correct birth certificate that includes your full name, gender, precise time, date, and location of birth, and your parents' full names, dates of birth, and places of birth.
  2. Be sure to bring the correct form of payment. The U.S. State Department will only accept a check or money order for passport and expediting fees. You can use a credit card to pay for photos and the OIA processing fee.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the application process before the departure date of your trip.

What are the rewards and challenges of working in the OIA passport office?

As a person who enjoys working with the public, Emily states "not a week goes by that I don't have a connection with someone who comes into the office – a friend of a friend or someone I've known in my past. Also, people are always traveling to interesting places and it's fascinating to hear about their plans". Emily also likes the variety in her job because every passport scenario is different depending on a person's life history and documentation. The biggest challenge of her job is helping people understand the passport application process. They sometimes return to the office two or three times before they have the correct birth certificate or payment. Emily's great people skills help to smooth over any difficulties which makes her a valuable representative of the OIA.

Emily is married with three grown sons and a brand new granddaughter. She and her husband are great supporters of Texas Tech athletics and have been TTU season football ticket holders for more than 40 consecutive years. They also have season baseball and basketball tickets.