FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 8, 2008

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

 

County Clerk Urges Parents to Get Passport Cards for Children

 

ELIZABETH, NJ – Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi urges parents to consider purchasing a United States Passport Card or a standard Passport for their children this holiday season. According to the County Clerk, some security experts believe the cards, issued by the Federal Government, are an excellent deterrent to child abductions and the cards provide the strongest identification documentation for children.

“More than 2,000 missing children reports are filed nationally on a daily basis,” Clerk Rajoppi said. “These cases might be solved more quickly if parents were able to provide key information about their children to authorities, including sex, date of birth, place of birth, nationality and a clear recent photograph. A federally-issued ID is the highest standard of identification available and would provide law enforcement officials with important information.”

The new form of federally-issued identification is called a U.S. Passcard, which is available at half the cost of a standard U.S. Passport booklet. These cards are the size of a credit card and they’re used for non-air travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico or the islands. To obtain a Passcard for a child, both parents need to present the same level of documentation to authorities that they would for a standard Passport.

Due to their uniqueness and built-in security, these new Passcards cannot be duplicated, Clerk Rajoppi asserts. Having a U.S. Passcard means that an abductor cannot request a duplicate or ask for a re-issuance of the card to travel with the child without providing detailed documentation available only to parents or legal guardians.

Applications for Passcards and Passports are available at the Union County Clerk’s offices in Elizabeth and Westfield. An adult Passcard costs $45 compared to the more expensive adult Passport at $100. For children, a Passcard costs $35 compared to $85 for a Passport.

The County Clerk’s Elizabeth Office is located at the Union County Courthouse, 2 Broad Street, Room 114. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The Westfield Office is located at 300 North Avenue East, and is open on Monday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.

For more information about the U.S. Passcard, please call 908-527-4787.