FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 22, 2007

CONTACT: Tom Plante, 908-527-4746, tplante@ucnj.org
Joanne Rajoppi, County Clerk, 908-527-4787

 

New Federal Regulations Create Passport Backlog:
Use Expedited Delivery Option to Avoid Travel Snags
Union County Clerk’s Offices in Westfield and Elizabeth
Have Convenient Hours for Passport Applicants

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi reminds county residents to apply for their passports as soon as possible and use the expedited delivery option to avoid disrupting summer and fall travel plans. With significant changes in U.S. passport laws now in effect, the federal agency responsible for issuing passports is experiencing unusually high volume and delays in processing passport applications.

“Because of the new federal passport regulations, the increased demand for new documents has created a slower response time from the federal passport agency,” Rajoppi said. “Residents who have summer or autumn travel plans should consider using the expedited delivery option when applying for a new passport or a renewal of an expired passport. Even the expedited delivery option, which costs $60 extra, can take five weeks or more for delivery.”

Passport customers should allow a sufficient amount of time to mail their application and receive their passport before traveling. The routine processing of passport applications – without the more expensive expedited delivery option – can take twelve weeks or more.

Passport application forms may be obtained at the County Clerk’s main office in the Union County Courthouse at 2 Broad Street in Elizabeth or at the County Clerk’s office annex at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield. Applications for passports and related information also can be found online at http://www.ucnj.org/ctyclerk/passport.html.

“Our Elizabeth office opens at 7:30 a.m. and it has experienced, helpful, English, Spanish and Portuguese-speaking staff ready to assist you in any way we can,” Rajoppi said. “Our Westfield office has convenient night hours and is fully staffed also.”

The Westfield Annex is the only County Clerk’s office in the state that is open during evening hours. The Westfield Annex is open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays and Fridays. The phone number at the Westfield Annex is 908-654-9859.

The Elizabeth office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number in Elizabeth is 908-527-4966.
Clients are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to closing time to allow for staff assistance with the passport process.

For domestic travel within the United States, travelers can use a county identification card. Teenagers who are older than 13 years of age and adults who don’t have a driver’s license can obtain a Union County photo identification card at the Union County Clerk’s office. Applicants for a photo identification card must bring their original birth certificate and proof of residency with them to the Clerk’s Office.

For more information about obtaining a U.S. passport, please
call (908) 527-4966.