MONTHLY COLUMN: September is Passport Awareness Month

Modified: September 16, 2022 11:48am

September 16, 2022

If you are making travel plans make sure you have proper and valid travel documents. Learn more at

If you are making travel plans make sure you have proper and valid travel documents

Erie County, NY- The Erie County Clerk’s Office is celebrating National Passport Awareness Month by reminding the traveling public that my office is an official Passport Application Acceptance Agent of the United States Passport Service for first-time customers and children. Further, I would like to remind current passport holders to ensure that their document is valid prior to traveling. 

Most tourists know they need a passport to travel internationally to foreign lands, however many are unaware that in a number of foreign countries, your passport must be valid for six months beyond your date of return. If your travel document expires before that, you may be denied boarding your flight or entry to your destination and be sent back home immediately upon your arrival. 

This information is hardly ever mentioned by airlines upon making your international flight reservations. As a first step in planning any trip abroad, check to see what identifying documents are required for your intended destination and verify that your passport is valid for at least six months. If the expiration date is less than that of the cutoff, take steps to renew your passport right away. 

So how much will a passport cost you in total? There are a number of factors that go into the cost calculation, including the type of passport you want, whether you're renewing or getting your first one, and how fast you need to obtain your travel document. With the new fee, the cost of a first-time adult passport book comes out to $165, comprised of a $130 application fee and a $35 acceptance fee. The price for renewing an adult passport book now totals $130. The price for a minor passport book for those under age 16 is now $135, consisting of a $100 application fee and a $35 acceptance fee. Passport photos can be taken at the County Clerk’s office for a fee of $10.

According to the State Department, the turnaround time for routine service, including passport renewals, currently can take 7 to 10 weeks. For $60 more, an expedited renewal application can take 4 to 6 weeks. Processing times can change at any time, so it is important that you check the status of your passport application online at  

Payment for the passport or passport card must be in the form of check or money order. No cash or credit cards can be accepted.  A certified copy of your birth certificate and proof of identity, such as a valid New York State driver’s license or non-driver identification card, is required in order for any application to be accepted. Those looking to obtain a passport or passport card for any children under the age of 16 need to make sure both parents are present in order to sign the application. 

Current passport holders with less than 6 months validity remaining on their travel document(s) must submit the renewal application directly to the Passport Agency by mail. Such renewals cannot be completed through the County Clerk’s Office. A complete list of instructions on how to renew a passport by mail can be found at However, the passport agents in my office will be happy to assist in making sure your renewal application is completed properly, as well as take your passport photo. 

The Erie County Clerk’s Office is open to the public and applicants can apply for a passport card, passport book or both at Old County Hall, 92 Franklin Street, Buffalo or the County Clerk’s Outreach Center, 1088 Union Road, West Seneca next to the Auto Bureau in the Southgate Plaza, Monday through Friday from 9am to 4:30pm. No appointments are necessary. 

Furthermore, effective May 3, 2023, U.S. travelers must be REAL ID compliant to board domestic flights and access certain federal facilities. A valid U.S. passport book, a passport card and a state-issued enhanced drivers license or non-driver identification card all meet the new security standard that goes into effect May 3, 2023.

Passport applications, a list of all required documents, and detailed breakdown of the new fee schedule are available by visiting or by contacting the Erie County Clerk’s Outreach Center at (716) 858-8864.