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2013 News

Be a Smart Traveler

Passport Applications and the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE from the Office of the Prothonotary

Doylestown, PA
- Bucks County Prothonotary Patricia Bachtle wants travelers to know that despite the government shutdown in Washington, D.C., passport applications are still being processed by her office and the U.S. Department of State.

"Passport application fees applicants pay to the State Department cover the costs of processing passports," Bachtle explained.  The Prothonotary's Office- which as a county agency is not part of any government shut down- is an agent for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs.  "Therefore passport applications will still be accepted and new passports mailed to applicants during the shutdown."

Bachtle also encouraged travelers to take the time to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

"This is a free service for U.S. citizens and I strongly encourage people who travel outside the United States - and certainly Americans who live overseas-to register today,” she added.

Registering your information with the State Department - especially for Americans living abroad or frequent travelers - will allow you to add trips as you travel so you can easily be contacted in case of an emergency.  The State Department will also keep up to date information for your emergency contacts while you're traveling.

No one likes to think about emergencies when they travel or are living abroad, but it's smart to be prepared.  Once registered, Overseas Citizens Services will have all the pertinent information to assist you in any crisis.

This free service is available to U.S. citizens at:  https://step.state.gov/step/ OR at www.travel.state.gov