Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi advises residents who are U.S. citizens to ensure that their passport is up to date, or obtain a passport if they don’t already have one. Passports are among the forms of identification accepted for domestic flights under the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. State driver’s licenses are accepted for domestic flights only if they comply with REAL ID standards. New Jersey is among a group of states that missed a 2016 compliance deadline and received an extension until October 2018.
“New Jersey driver’s licenses can be used for domestic flights until the extension runs out, but that is a temporary fix,” said Ms. Rajoppi. “A passport offers the predictability and reliability of a 10-year lifespan for adults, so it’s a good investment even if you don’t plan on going overseas.”
“Proper identification is required to board domestic flights as well as for overseas travel, and U.S. passports are accepted for both,” Ms. Rajoppi added. “With a valid U.S. passport, you never have to worry about having the correct identification when flying.”
Ms. Rajoppi also advised residents planning spring or summer travel to obtain a passport now rather than waiting until travel season.
“The State Department is taking four to six weeks to complete transactions, and expediting the process can be inconvenient as well as expensive,” said Ms. Rajoppi. “Expedited passports take two to three weeks to process, so it’s always a good idea to conduct any necessary passport business well in advance of your travel plans.”
Union County residents can process their U.S. passport applications and renewals through the County Clerk, at the main office at 2 Broad Street in Elizabeth or the satellite office at 300 North Avenue East in Westfield. Passport photos are offered at both locations for a nominal fee. The Westfield office also features evening and weekend hours.
For complete office hours and 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/REAL-ID.
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