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Union County Clerk Advises Residents on Passports and Overseas Travel

The U.S. Department of State is introducing new “Next Generation Passport” books with added security features (credit: U.S. Department of State).

Union County, NJ – Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi advises residents that the U.S. Department of State has been introducing new “Next Generation Passport” books, with added security and aesthetic elements. Current passport holders may continue to use their books and cards until they expire.

“The State Department has made some sweeping changes in the look of the passport book along with enhanced security measures, so be prepared to see something very different the next time you renew your passport,” said Ms. Rajoppi.

The new passport provides enhanced security features including a polycarbonate data page, laser-engraved personalization and updated artwork, featuring detailed linework and ink colors that showcase U.S. architecture, history, culture, landscapes, and traditions.

Ms. Rajoppi also reminds residents to renew their passports well in advance of the expiration date, due to long waiting times for processing by the State Department. The current waiting time is 8-11 weeks for routine processing, and 5-7 weeks for expedited processing.

The same waiting periods apply to first-time passport applications.

“We also remind travelers to make sure you are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 before going overseas,” said Ms. Rajoppi. “Many countries require it, and vaccination is the surest way to reduce the risk of serious illness, long term health impacts, or death from the virus.”

For the latest updates on passport wait times at the State Department, and for additional details about renewing or obtaining a U.S. passport, visit travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.

The Union County Clerk is authorized to accept passport applications and forward them to the State Department for processing. This service is available in person and by appointment only.

To make an appointment at the County Clerk’s main office in the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth, use the online system: ucnj.org/county-clerk/county-clerk-online-appointment-system.

To make an appointment at the annex office in the Colleen Frasier Building, at the Union County complex at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield, use the online system: ucnj.org/county-clerk/county-clerk-online-appointment-system.

Passport photos are also available at both offices for a nominal fee of $10.00 each.

For more information about the County Clerk’s passport service, visit online at ucnj.org/county-clerk/passport-services or call 908-527-4966.

For more information about all County Clerk programs and services, visit online at ucnj.org/county-clerk or call 908-527-4787.

For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including free vaccination, free testing, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.

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