Passport Laws Change June 1st. Are You Ready?

Apr. 28, 2009

County Clerk Idoni Urges Those Heading Across the Border and Back To Get Ready

After a series of delays, the final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is scheduled to go into effect on June 1, 2009.   “We encourage residents planning a trip across the border and back to let our knowledgeable staff help them apply for a passport, including taking their picture,” began Westchester County Clerk Timothy C. Idoni.  “Routine passport applications take only a few minutes to complete and our staff is expert at assisting with more complex cases,” continued Idoni.

Here’s what you need to know about the rules as fully implemented:

Air Travel: 
Anyone traveling by air outside of the United States must provide a passport or other accepted travel document to enter or re-enter the United States.

Land and Sea Travel:
Most U.S. citizens must have a passport, passport card or other Homeland Security approved travel document such as a state-issued enhanced drivers’ license to enter or re-enter the United States by land or sea.  The exceptions?  Children under the age of sixteen can still present a birth certificate or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate.  And there are special rules for students travelling with a school or religious group.

To apply for a passport, a certified copy of your birth certificate and a valid drivers’ license is usually all you need.  But visit or call 995-3086 for specific requirements.  The fee for an adult passport (age 16 and over) is $135.00 and the fee for a child’s passport (from birth through age 15) is $105.00.  If a passport is needed in fewer than four weeks, an expedite fee of $60.00 per application can be paid in order to decrease the processing time.

The Office of the Westchester County Clerk, which serves as an agent for the United States Department of State, processes U.S. passport applications in their office located at 110 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in White Plains between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.  You must arrive by 4:30 pm to get serviced.  In addition, passport applications are processed by the County Clerk’s community outreach staff throughout the county.  Please review the Mobile Office calendar on our website,, to see where our community outreach staff will appear in the coming weeks.