Union County, NJ – Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi is advising residents that the U.S. Department of State has introduced new “Next Generation Passport” books, with additional security and aesthetic features. Current passport holders can continue to use their booklets and cards until they expire.
“The Department of State has made sweeping changes to the appearance of the passport book as well as enhanced security measures, so prepare to see something very different the next time you renew your passport,” said Mrs Rajoppi.
The new passport offers enhanced security features, including a polycarbonate data page, laser-etched personalization and updated artwork, with detailed lines and ink colors that highlight the architecture, history, culture, landscapes and traditions of the United States.
Ms. Rajoppi also reminds residents to renew their passports well before the expiration date, due to long wait times for State Department processing. The current wait time is 8-11 weeks for routine processing and 5-7 weeks for expedited processing.
The same waiting times apply to first-time passport applications.
“We also remind travelers to ensure that you are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 before traveling abroad,” Ms Rajoppi said. “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 Department of State and for more details on 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 Department of State for processing. This service is available in person and by appointment only.
To make an appointment at the main county clerk’s office at the Union County Courthouse in Elizabeth, use the online system: ucnj.org/county-clerk/county-clerk-online-appointment-system.
To schedule an appointment at the Colleen Frasier Building Subsidiary Office, 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 on 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 emergency services. support, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available from the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
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