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Passport requests are up

By Staff | Apr 23, 2009

The Pierce County Clerk of Court’s office processed 162 applications last year for passport cars and books.

So far this year, 83 applications have been processed, according to Carla Marks, clerk of court.

“The applications are about half and half (passport books and cards), but lately we’re seeing more requests only for the cards,” Marks said. “It’s about the size of a driver’s license, and it’s easier to carry.”

The spike in requests is attributed to soon-to-be travel requirements for U.S. citizens leaving and returning to the country.

Beginning June 1, 2009, citizens crossing U.S. land and sea borders must have documents which comply with the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) rules, namely a passport book or card.

The travel changes especially affects towns near the Canadian border, including Rugby. Many residents travel north for recreation, including camping, hunting and fishing, and in some cases, business.

Price is one of the major differences. The passport card costs $45 for those age 16 and over. It’s good for 10 years.

The passport book costs $100 for those age 16 and over. It’s good for 10 years. Add $20 for those ordering the card as well, which is good for 10 years.

The passport card for ages 15 and under is $35 and is good for five years. The passport book for ages 15 and under is $85. Add $10 if ordering the card as well. And it’s good for five years.

Marks said, on average, the time it takes to process a request for a passport card or book is four to six weeks.

Children under the age of 16 will be able to present a certified copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of citizenship, such as a naturalization certificate, or citizenship card. Groups of U.S. children age 16 through 18, when traveling with a school, religious group, social organization or sports team, will be able to enter the country under adult supervision with a certified copy of a birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. Parents and guardians are advised to remember passports issued to minors under 16 are valid for only five years.

Passport cards are good for travel to and from Canada, Mexico, and the countries of the Caribbean by land or sea. Passport books are required to and from other countries.

For more information about obtaining a passport card or book, contact the clerk of court’s office at (701) 776-6161. Additional information can be obtained at www.travel.state.gov

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