Planning your post-pandemic trips? Officials warn you should start the passport process now

Posted at 2:00 PM, Apr 22, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — If you're planning on taking a trip post-pandemic, Erie County officials say you should begin your passport renewal process now.

Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns says current passport holders whose travel documents are valid for six months or less, as well as any new passport applicants should begin their passport renewal process now, even if you are not traveling internationally in the immediate future.

“The State Department recently notified us that routine processing times are now at ten to twelve weeks and expedited service is four to six weeks,” said Kearns. “Since international travel is on pause, this seems like an opportune time to begin the process for anyone needing a passport to check your current passport to see when it expires in order to avoid delays once overseas travel restrictions are lifted.”

Kearns adds that U.S. travelers must be REAL ID compliant to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities, and a passport book and passport card will meet that security standard when it goes into effect on October 1, 2021.

You can apply for a a passport card, passport book, or both at these locations from Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

  • Old County Hall, 92 Franklin Street, Buffalo
  • Erie County Clerk’s Outreach Center, 1088 Union Road, West Seneca next to the Auto Bureau in the Southgate Plaza

Payments must be made via a check or money order, as credit and debit cards or cash will not be accepted, and you'll need to provide a birth certificate and proof of identity such as a valid New York State driver’s license or non-driver identification card.

Passport photos will be taken on-site and will cost $10.

Passport holder who have less than six months left on their passport must follow these instructions, and must be done through the mail.

“With just under six months remaining until the October 1, 2021 REAL ID Act is enforced, I encourage all travelers to obtain a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or non-driver identification card or apply for an acceptable alternative, such as a U.S. passport or passport card sooner than later through the County Clerk’s Office,” added Kearns.

You can read more by clicking here or by calling the Erie County Clerk’s Outreach Center at (716) 858-8864.