If you’re applying for a U.S. passport in Anchorage, you’ll soon have to head for the airport, as the U.S. Postal Service puts all of its local passport-related operations under a single roof.

A dedicated passport center will open five days a week, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Monday, at the main post office near Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport according to the Postal Service.

Two dedicated postal clerks will staff the center at 4141 Postmark Drive, which will take over passport work being done at the Eastchester and Sand Lake post offices. Those locations will stop handling passport applications on Monday.

Dawn Peppinger, the Postal Service’s Alaska marketing manager, said Anchorage postal clerks process a total of about 40 passport applications per day. The new center, which offers weekend service, is a response to customer complaints about that work lengthening wait times at local post offices.

“We keep passports separate because they take 15 to 20 minutes of processing,” Peppinger said. “Four, five people (with passport work) in front of you, that can be a wait.”

The new office, which can process photos for $15 and expedite passport requests on a fee basis, features a waiting area. It will be staffed by clerks specially trained in passport work, and is geared to handle people coming in on an appointment basis rather than walk-in customers – who will still be accommodated as scheduled customers permit.

Appointments at the passport office can be set up by calling clerks at 907-261-5473. Postal staff recommend printing and filling out passport application forms in advance, bringing proof of citizenship and personal identification, and having any passport photos you plan to use on hand.

Other post offices outside Anchorage, including those in Eagle River, Palmer, Wasilla and Girdwood, will still accept passport applications.