A passport is an internationally recognized travel document attesting to the identity and nationality of the bearer. In essence, it is a request on the part of the issuing government that officials of foreign governments permit the bearer to travel or sojourn in their territories and to afford them all lawful aid and protection. You may apply for a U.S. Passport Book or a U.S. Passport Card.
A valid Passport Book is required of U.S. citizens departing by air from the United States for any destination outside of North, South or Central America and for entering the United States from outside the United States. A valid Passport Card may only be used for land and sea travel between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Carribean. For more information, please visit travel.state.gov.
The Clerk of Courts Office is the local government agency that may accept applications for passports. That application is then passed on to one of the passport services designated by the Secretary of State. The application is then reviewed, and is then issued or denied, and returned to the applicant by mail. During peak travel periods, this process may take ten weeks, so allow plenty of time before you intend to travel.
Clerk Processing Deadline
Due to the amount of time it takes our clerks to process an application for a passport, paperwork is required to be filed by 4:30 PM in order for your application to be completed by 5:00 PM.
The appropriate forms may be picked up in advance in our office, at a AAA office, or at most travel agencies. The form must be signed in the presence of a clerk at our office when it is filed. These forms are also available on the U.S. Department of State's website.
If there is no official record of your birth, you will need to contact the proper agency (Bureau of Vital Statistics or Health Department) of your birth state. A letter will be issued to this fact, then we can use other items for proof.
If you are a naturalized citizen, the original naturalization certificate must accompany the application for a passport. It will be returned by the passport agency. If you are not a U.S. citizen, but need a passport, you must contact the nearest consulate for your country.
A visa is permission granted by the government of a country to an alien to enter that country and to remain for a specific period of time. It is the responsibility of the traveler to obtain necessary visas, if any, before proceeding abroad. Visas are obtained from the embassy or consulate of the countries to which the applicant wishes to travel. Please refer to travel.state.gov for information as to what countries require visas.
If your passport has been lost, stolen or mutilated, you must complete a new application, with new pictures, birth certificate and affidavit of lost or stolen passport. The forms are available in this office. The cost will be the same as applying for a new passport.
Denial of Application
If you are behind in your child support payments in excess of $2,500, you are ineligible to receive a U.S. passport. If this applies to you, Passport Services strongly recommends that you contact the appropriate State child support enforcement agency to make payment arrangements before applying for a passport.
A passport application can always be accepted if you have a past criminal history, however a passport cannot be issued to a person with a federal, state, or local felony warrant of arrest, or someone who has a condition of parole or probation forbidding departure from the United States. A letter from a parole or probation officer authorizing passport issuance and/or international travel may be required.
Passports and Confidentiality
Information obtained from or in connection with a passport application is privileged under the Privacy Act of 1974 and under Title 22, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 51.33, and must not be divulged to any person or organization inquiring about such records. Requests for information concerning an applicant's personal background, address, travel plans, etc. should be referred to:
Passport Services Washington, D.C. 20524.
Statistical data concerning passport applications handled by the Clerk's office, not including any information about specific applications, may be released. (i.e.: How many passport applications have been handled in a certain period, etc.)