FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 14, 2008

CONTACT: Tom Plante, 908-527-4746
Seb D’Elia, 908-527-4419

 

Union County Clerk Announces New Federal Passport Regulations

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi announces that federal regulations implemented on February 1st have changed some aspects of the passport application process and identification requirements for travelers in the Western Hemisphere.

The changes to the federal Passport Program include new application forms and fees, a limited-use Passport Card, two-parent consent for minors under the age of 16, and a new U.S. law, called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, that sets stricter rules for entering (or returning to) the United States from Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean islands.

“The new standards for identification while traveling make it more important than ever to have a valid passport,” said Ms. Rajoppi. “So, if you don’t already have a passport, I urge you to get one now even if you don’t expect to travel anytime soon.”

Travelers have the option to apply for a Passport Book, a Passport Card, or both. The new Passport Card may only be used for land and sea travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. The Passport Card will provide a less expensive, smaller, and more convenient alternative for those who travel to and from these destinations.

The Passport Card may not be used to travel by air. The U.S. Department of State is issuing the card to facilitate the frequent travel of U.S. citizens living in border communities. The Passport Card is a less expensive and more portable alternative to the traditional Passport Book when crossing a border by car, bus or train, on foot or bicycle, and by ferry, cruise ship or private boat.

The new regulations regarding passports for minors require that all minors under 16 years of age must appear in person when applying for a passport. Both parents, or the child’s legal guardian, must present evidence that they are the parents or guardian and that the child is a U.S. citizen. If a parent cannot be present, the non-appearing parent must provide a signed and notarized consent form, which permits the passport to be issued to a minor child.

For more information about the new passport fees, application forms, identification requirements, and office hours, contact the Union County Clerk’s office in Elizabeth at 908-527-4966, or in Westfield at 908-654-9859, or visit the County Clerk’s website: www.ucnj.org/ctyclerk.