AP NEWS

District clerk to hold spring passport fair

March 20, 2019

Ector County will host their Second Annual Passport Fair on March 30 to prepare for the uptick in applications prior to the summer months.

The event is scheduled to take place on a Saturday to extend services beyond regular business hours.

District Clerk Clarissa Webster said the passport fair’s inaugural year assisted about 170 residents in the passport application process and she expects more than 200 people will take advantage of the fair this year.

Webster said March and April are the months that the county receives the greatest number of passport applications due to travel trends. She anticipates that wait times will be less than those during regular business hours with added agents and queues on the day of the fair.

About 30 county employees will help applicants navigate through each stage of the application on a first-come, first-served basis.

“We have people that will greet people on the outside and check their paperwork before they ever come in the door,” Webster said. “Once they come in the door, we want them to be viable to make it all the way through the passport application process. Last year we set it up with many stations where we pre-checked the documents so by the time they reached an agent to close the deal they were ready to go, could finish up the passport application and get on out the door.”

Applicants who arrive with all necessary forms completed and all required documentation and payment ready will be fast-tracked through the application process, a district clerk’s office press release stated.

Needed documentation includes evidence of U.S. citizenship and a valid driver’s license or other form of photo identification.

For those seeking photo services during the event, there is a new price.

Ector County Commissioners on Feb. 26 approved raising the county’s fee for passport photo services to $12, a $2 increase from last year, in order to offset the cost of supplies and the time spent by staff.

Webster advised those interested in traveling abroad not to delay securing a passport until the last minute.

“This is the perfect time to get it if you’re going anywhere as soon as school closes,” she said. “You want to apply at least two months before you leave just to make sure you have it in time.”