ELIZABETH, NJ – Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi announces that effective January 1, 2010, the Union County Clerk’s Office will no longer issue county identification cards. Citizens requiring official photo ID are urged to obtain one or both of the following documents recognized by the Federal government under the new “REAL ID” guidelines: a U.S. Passport Book and/or a U.S. Passport Card, which can be applied for at the Union County Clerk’s offices in Elizabeth and Westfield.
“During the months of January and February, my offices will waive the normal $10 fee for having your photograph taken when you apply for a passport book or passport card at our offices in Elizabeth and Westfield,” Ms. Rajoppi said. “The free passport photo is our way of trying to reduce your travel expenses a bit and encourage you to get your passport ready for spring and summer vacations.”
According to Ms. Rajoppi, significant changes mandated by the federal government through the Department of Homeland Security require that government-issued identification cards meet heightened security requirements. Under the stringent new REAL ID federal guidelines, identification cards issued by County Clerks will no longer be accepted by any federal agency or for any other official purpose.
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 certified passport agents 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 more information about obtaining a U.S. passport, please call (908) 527-4966.