Clerks in Cass, Berrien stop processing of passport applications

Published 6:50 pm Monday, May 9, 2011

Cass County Clerk/Register Barb Runyon announced that beginning May 1, her office will no longer process passport applications for the U.S. Department of State. The Berrien County clerk’s office will also stop processing applications.

The State Department has issued a directive that any passport acceptance facility that issues primary birth documentation cannot also process passport applications unless the two functions are physically separated and acceptance agents cannot create, amend or issue birth documents.

“These new directives are very frustrating,” Runyon said, “the Cass County Clerk’s Office has been an acceptance agency for many years, but the Department of State has made it impossible for us to comply with these requirements.”

Under the directives of the State Department, her office will no longer have the passport forms available, nor will the staff be permitted to answer passport related questions.

In the meantime, the county is exploring alternative ways in which to retain this service for residents. Runyon suggests that residents contact their local post office to verify whether they process passport applications.

She also reminds residents that they do not have to apply for their passport in the county that they live, they may apply anywhere there is an acceptance facility.