Visa applicants in the United States can now pay for their passport using digital currency, specifically Bitcoin. This is after an announcement made by Peninsula Visa approving these transactions.
Coinbase Commerce will be used as the secure processor in these transactions.
An American based company, Peninsula Visa, that specializes in visa and passport, announced recently that it would be accepting the world’s flagship crypto Bitcoin, as a form of payment for selected passport services, via using Coinbase Commerce as the secure processor for these transactions.
Evan James, Chief Operating Officer at Peninsula Visa said,
“Never before has anyone been able to pay for a U.S. passport using a digital currency. We’re thrilled to be the first company in the nation offering this alternative payment method to our valued customers”
“As we look forward to a post COVID world, one that we believe will be more digital than ever before, offering travellers the ability to pay via Bitcoin feels like the right move at the right time.”
According to the official announcement, customers can avail of the following passport services for payment via Bitcoin with additional passport and visa services planned to be rolled out over the next 12 months.
These services include passport renewal, name change, second passport, and second passport renewal.
When government offices and businesses were first shut down in March following measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, many of the State Department’s 26 passport agencies across the continental United States and Puerto Rico were likewise affected, causing delays in passport processing for first-time applicants as well as those renewing or altering their documents for common events like marriage. According to a report from the LA Times, there was a backlog of nearly one million passports as of Sept. 23.
However, many of the State Department’s offices have already opened with staff for in-person passport applicants. The government agency announced on Nov. 3 that it had reduced processing time to 10-12 weeks for standards applications, and 4-6 weeks for expedited passports — pre-COVID, one could obtain a passport in person within a week under certain circumstances.
Though private businesses have offered Bitcoiners the opportunity to purchase international flights using crypto, governments have seemingly been less than forthcoming to do so for certain services. In June, a Venezuela government agency briefly listed Bitcoin as a form of payment for passport applications from Venezuelan citizens living abroad before disabling the service the next day.