Union County, NJ – Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi advises Union County residents that a valid U.S. passport is still the most reliable and secure form of identification for traveling by air.
“Getting a U.S. passport and keeping it up to date is the best way to ensure that your travel plans are worry-free, whether you are flying domestically in the U.S. or boarding an international flight,” said Ms. Rajoppi.
Ms. Rajoppi noted that currently, air travelers can still use their driver’s licenses to board domestic flights. However, New Jersey has not yet attained compliance with new national security standards for driver’s licenses.
The new standards were established under the 2005 federal “REAL ID” law. The law, which is being implemented by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, requires each state to update its driver’s license procedures to comply with tighter security measures at airports, federal buildings, and other sensitive facilities.
Most states now issue driver’s licenses that meet the new standards. New Jersey missed the compliance deadline of January 10th, 2016 but the Department of Homeland Security provided a new, extended deadline of October 10th, 2016.
“The good news is that for now you can still use your New Jersey driver’s license to board a domestic flight,” said Ms. Rajoppi. “However, we don’t know what will happen when the grace period ends on October 10th, so if you are a U.S. citizen and don’t have a passport yet, I encourage you to contact my office and apply for one before the busy spring and summer travel seasons begin.”
Union County residents can process their U.S. passport applications and renewals through the County Clerk, at the main office in Elizabeth or the satellite office in Westfield. Passport photos are offered at both locations for a nominal fee. The Westfield office also features evening and weekend hours:
Elizabeth – Union County Courthouse
2 Broad Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07207
Open Monday through Friday
Business and Passport Office: 7:30 am – 4:30 pm
Recording Office: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Westfield – Union County Colleen Fraser Building
300 North Avenue East, Westfield, NJ 07090
Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Open Tuesday and Thursday: 8:00 am – 7:30 pm
Open Saturday: 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Both offices are easily accessible by mass transit.
For more details about the County Clerk’s passport services, including downloadable forms, visit online at ucnj.org/county-clerk.
Information about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s implementation of REAL ID standards is available at dhs.gov. The agency has not yet enforced the new standards at airports, and the New Jersey Motor Vehicles Commission is still working on upgrading the standards for New Jersey driver’s licenses.
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