Getting passport may soonget easier at Harris County District Clerk's office

HOUSTON

Harris County Commissioners Court agreed to support the district clerk's plans to offer passport services. The district clerk says it's about convenience, but also about revenue for the county.

Many people who need to obtain or renew passports in Harris County currently do so at local post offices. The district clerk's office has heard from citizens who complain the process involves long lines and they're tired of it.

Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel says he wants to give people options, and he admits it will bring in more money for Harris County.

"It will be much better," said Balentina Trujillo, who was getting her passport at the post office.

Felipe Suarez, who needed passport services, said, "In general, I think it's complicated to make appointments and everything to get a passport, especially when you have special needs, you need to travel."

"The federal cuts that are occurring with the traditional process centers, like the post office, and with the closure for renovations of the downtown Mickey Leland building, there really is a gap that needs to be filled," Daniel explained.

In addition to the $110 state department fee, there will be a $25 processing fee that could go back to the county's general fund. That has yet to be determined.

Passport processing is done by other local counties, such as Galveston, Chambers and Montgomery.

The US Postal Service said in a statement, "It will be great to have an additional acceptance office. We look forward to working with the county."

Services at the Harris County Clerk's Office could begin as soon as August 1.

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