FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 27, 2009

 

 

Apply for Passports Now to Avoid Holiday Travel Snags:
County Clerk’s Offices in Westfield & Elizabeth Have Convenient Hours

 

ELIZABETH, NJ – Are you planning to take a trip for the holidays? Even Santa needs a passport!

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi reminds county residents to apply for their passports as soon as possible to avoid any complications that may disrupt their winter travel plans. Holiday travelers to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and countries in the Caribbean must have a valid passport to enter or depart from the United States.

“Because of the approaching holidays, there’s an increased demand for new documents from the federal passport agency,” Rajoppi said. “Don’t wait until the last minute to get your passport.”

Passport customers should allow sufficient time to mail their application and receive their passport before traveling. It can take four to five weeks for an application to be processed and returned to the customer. The more expensive expedited delivery option can take two weeks for delivery.

“Even if your passport is still valid, some countries require passports to be valid for an additional six months after your visit,” Rajoppi added. “This is an entry requirement in some countries, so it is important to call the country’s embassy or check their website to look for specific passport expiration requirements before you travel.”

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 and Spanish-speaking staff ready to assist you in any way we can,” Rajoppi said. “Our Westfield office has convenient night hours and also is fully staffed.”

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 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The telephone 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 telephone 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 in the United States, teenagers 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 ID 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.