CRANFORD, NJ - For a limited time only, the Union County Clerk’s offices in Westfield and Elizabeth are offering free passport photographs as a special incentive for residents to apply for a passport or a passport renewal. From Monday, April 13, through Saturday, April 18, the normal $10 cost of a passport photograph will be waived when a resident applies for a new passport or a passport renewal.

“With summer vacations rapidly approaching, now is the time to make sure your passport is up-to-date,” said Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi. “My offices are helping travelers save on their vacation expenses by providing free photographs for those who apply for a passport while still providing a full range of passport services with no need for an appointment.”

Travelers to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, countries in the Caribbean or anywhere overseas must have a valid passport to enter or depart from the United States. Due to a current backlog of applications at the National Passport Center, it can take six weeks for a regular passport application to be processed and returned to the customer. Even the more expensive expedited delivery option can take three weeks for delivery.

“Now is the time to make sure your passport is valid. Don’t wait until the last minute to get your passport,” Rajoppi said. “If your passport expires within six months of your planned visit, many countries will not permit you to enter. You will need to renew your passport.”

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 in the Colleen Fraser Building at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield. Applications for passports and related information also can be found online at http://www.ucnj.org/Passports.

“No appointment is necessary. 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 evening and Saturday 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 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone 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 phone 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