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Town clerk to take part in Passport day

Beginning June 1, all travel outside the United States will require a passport book, passport card or other travel documents.

To prepare for the change, the U.S. Department of State has asked passport agencies to participate in Passport Day in the USA on Saturday March 28. Locally, the Skaneateles Town Hall will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to help the community learn more about the passport application process and submit applications.

"Beginning June 1, even driving to Canada, Mexico or going on a cruise you're going to need a passport," town Clerk Janet Aaron said.

If travelers believe they won't be flying outside the country, they can apply for a passport card which will be accepted at international borders.

The post office and town hall accept passport applications daily during business hours, but the Saturday blitz is to get everyone to come in who maybe doesn't have a chance to during the week.

"We're here to make sure their application is filled out properly," Aaron said.

When the town office first began accepting passport applications in 2004, the response was enormous. Throughout the year, clerks and office staff filed 260 applications. In 2008, they processed 150 applications and generally get 10 to 15 of them each month, Aaron said.

It takes approximately four weeks for passport applications to be approved and passports to be sent to the applicants. Aaron's office has access to all the forms necessary for the books. She said the staff felt Passport Day in the USA would help get people to the office to ask questions and fill out applications.

Forms for those needing to renew their passports can do so by mail and not be charged a fee by going through the town office, if that's what they wish to do.

For new adult passports there is a $25 processing fee and a $75 application fee for the Department of State. Children under 16 years old are charged a $25 processing fee and a $60 application fee.

"We hope we can help people with this process," Aaron said.

Passport photos are required when an application is submitted. Kinney Drugs and CVS on Fennell Street in the village are both equipped with cameras for passport photos.

There are specific requirements for applicants, all of which can be found by logging on to travel.state.gov.

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