Community Outreach: District Clerk hosts series of passport fairs

District Clerk's office employee Adriana Muñoz looks through the paperwork for Sandra and Mario Palacios' application for passports for their children at the Cameron County District Clerk's office. During the passport fairs representatives will be on hand to help applicants apply or renew their passport easily. (Denise Cathey/The Brownsville Herald)

The Office of the District Clerk is hosting passport fairs on Saturdays in Brownsville, Harlingen, Port Isabel, Los Fresnos and San Benito as an attempt to facilitate the process for working citizens who are not able to get their passport during regular business hours.

The fairs, which are held twice a year, started July 13 and will continue until Oct. 12.

District Clerk Eric Garza said the fairs have been going on for more than six years and have had great response from residents because they are scheduled on Saturdays, making it easier for them to finish the paperwork without missing work or taking the kids out of school.

“A lot of people work, their children are in school and rather then affect their livelihood that it’s one of the reasons why we started doing passport fairs,” Garza said.

The passport fairs are held Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the location for the fair changes every time. The next fair is scheduled for July 27 at the County Annex Building in Port Isabel, followed by one in Brownsville on Aug.10 at the Texas Regional Bank on 3275 Boca Chica Blvd.

“It makes it easier for them … they can do everything at once, bring the kids without taking them out of school, not lose work themselves and if there is anything else that they need they can always go home, get it and come back,” Garza said.

The requirements to apply for a U.S. passport are evidence of citizenship: long form certified U.S. birth certificate, previous U.S. passport (may be expired, must be undamaged), consular report of birth abroad, certificate of naturalization or citizenship; a photo identification: valid drivers license (plus a second ID if issued in a different state), undamaged U.S. passport (if issued less than 15 years ago), certificate of naturalization or valid government or military ID. To see the specific requirements, visit travel.state.gov.

“If they need to renew their passport might as well renew it, get their passport, book or card, and with the passport they can travel,” Garza said.

Garza said some people only use their passport to go to the Mexican side of the border because it saves them hours of not waiting in line by foot.

“You save yourself three hours. If you have a passport you just walk straight to the front, there’s an officer there and you just give them your passport card and he says ‘ok, you can cross’,” he said.

For more information about the fairs and to see the complete list, visit ericgarza-districtclerk.com or call the Office of the District Clerk at (956) 544-0838.

 

nreyna@brownsvilleherald.com