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Princeton NJ Local Government Announcements

County Clerk Advises Residents to Obtain Passports as a Form of REAL ID

TRENTON - Although the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission has stated that it will soon offer REAL ID-compliant driver's licenses, passports (both passport books and passport cards) are still a great form of ID and currently compliant with federal regulations. You can apply for either at the Mercer County Clerk's Office in Trenton or the Mercer County Connection satellite office in Hamilton Township. Residents who wish to travel on domestic flights – or who need access to federal buildings – can use a passport book or card as identification, regardless of whether their current driver's license is REAL ID-compliant.

Passport books are good for any international travel and are REAL ID-compliant for domestic flights. Routine passport service costs $110, with expedited service costing $170. For children under 16, routine service is $80, with expedited service costing $140.

Passport cards, which are also REAL ID-compliant, are valid for travel by land or sea only to Canada, Mexico, and many Caribbean nations. A passport card can also be used for entrance into federal buildings and proof of US Citizenship to present to a US Embassy if your passport book is lost while abroad. Fees for service are $30 for adults and $15 for children under 16. Picture fees are $15 for adults and $10 for children and seniors (62 and older).

All passport services of the County Clerk include a $35 County Clerk's processing fee. Payment must be in the form of a check or money order.  In addition to offering passport processing every weekday at our locations in Trenton and Hamilton, we are holding a special passport day on October 10 from 4 to 7 pm at the West Windsor Municipal Building, located at 731 Clarksville Road, Conference Room A. You can arrange for an appointment by calling (609) 989-6473. Although every effort will be made to accept walk-ins, making an appointment is recommended.

New Jersey was previously one of only five US states and territories whose state-issued driver's licenses were not compliant with the REAL ID Act of 2005, which was signed into law as a response to calls to push for tighter security after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The announcement from the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) comes before the October 1, 2020 deadline for all states to fully upgrade their driver's licenses to REAL ID-compliant ones. New Jersey residents can now upgrade their driver's licenses by appointment only at one of six MVC offices where appointments are held.

Again, a passport is REAL ID-compliant now. For more information on hours and on what is needed to obtain a passport, please visit our website by clicking on this link.

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