Summer travelers can avoid the vacation rush for passports while saving money for the photo.  During Passport Week, April 13-18, the Union County Clerk’s Office is offering free passport photos, a $10 savings, for new applicants and renewals in its Elizabeth and Westfield offices. No appointment is necessary.

“With summer vacations rapidly approaching, now is the time to make sure your passport is up-to-date,” said Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi.

She continued, “Don’t wait until the last minute to get your passport. 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.”

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Passports are required for any out-of-country travel, including to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and countries in the Caribbean. 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.

Applicants can obtain passport applications 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.

The Elizabeth office opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number in Elizabeth is 908-527-4966.  The staff includes Spanish-speaking members. The Westfield Annex is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday; from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone number at the Westfield Annex is 908-654-9859.

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.