Summer is now here and that means it is time to update your passports for summer travel. The Mercer County Clerk's Office processes U.S. Passports and U.S. Passport Cards at two locations six days per week. However, Federal Offices are taking a bit longer this year to process them, from approximately 6 to 10 weeks(or longer, in some cases) so please don't wait to visit our agents and submit your application.
The Mercer County Clerk's Office processes passports in our Trenton Office weekdays from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on Mondays through Fridays, with late hours on Wednesday evenings until 6:45, at 209 South Broad Street in the Courthouse Annex. Our location in Hamilton, at the Mercer County Connection satellite, at Route 33 and Paxon Avenue, is open Mondays through Saturdays for passports. The Hamilton office offers late hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 7:30, and we offer limited hours on Saturdays as well, from 10am to 2pm, for the convenience of Mercer residents. We even will take your passport pictures at both locations.
We also travel to various municipalities for "passport days". We just completed a series of outreach visits during the Spring and we have a summer date scheduled to be at Lawrence Township Senior Center on Thursday, July 31st from 11 am to 3pm. You can schedule an appointment to have your passport processed there with our passport department at 609-989-6473. Our Fall outreach schedule will be out shortly.
If you want to apply for a U.S. Passport or Passport Card, residents will need 1) Proof of Citizenship in the form of a State-certified birth certificate (long form), a U.S. naturalization certificate or a previously issued U.S. Passport; and 2) Proof of identity in the form of a current driver's license or a State-issued identification card. Detailed requirements can be found at the County Clerk's webpage at www.mercercounty.org when you click on "County Clerk", "Services" and "Passports".
The County Clerk's Office processes 5,000 to 6,000 passports annually at its two locations. Overall demand for passports has risen over the past few years due to changes in U.S. travel requirements which require travelers to have passports for air, land and sea ports outside of the U.S., including the Carabean islands, Canada and Mexico. The passport book is accepted for all travel while the passport card has a more limited use and is generally used at seaports and border crossings.
The regular passport fee, which must be in the form of a check or money order, costs $110 for adults and $80 for children. There is also a $25.00 processing fee for the County. Photos are a separate fee.
Adult passports are valid for ten years and a child's passport is valid for five years. For a child under age 16, both parents must appear in person for the application process.
I enjoyed providing this review of this necessary process for international travel. And, remember, passports are also a great form of identification even if you choose to stay here and enjoy the beauty of New Jersey.
Most importantly, I hope you have a fun, relaxing and happy summer.