ORANGE PARK – Clay County residents, along with others from around the First Coast, lined up Saturday morning at the Orange Park branch of the Clerk’s Office to take advantage of annual Passport …
ORANGE PARK – Clay County residents, along with others from around the First Coast, lined up Saturday morning at the Orange Park branch of the Clerk’s Office to take advantage of annual Passport Day.
“Across the state, across all clerk’s offices, there is a dedicated passport Day annually,” said Clerk’s Office Chief Operations Officer Tracie McRae. “And it’s just an opportunity for citizens to go to their local clerk of court, and potentially even post office outside of normal business hours.”
The annual date doesn’t always fall on the same weekend. It’s held whenever it’s convenient for the clerk’s office and residents.
Last year, the COVID-19 lockdown of the state led to the cancellation of special event.
“This year, we were trying to do it in the spring, so we could help those people that maybe were looking for some summer travel, to go ahead and get a jump-start on those summer plans,” McRae said.
Turnout in the past has been measured. The 2019 event was done by appointment only, so the appointment slots weren’t filled and the clerk’s office felt it could have serviced more residents. The turnout this time was substantial, with people lined up to the back of the shopping plaza well before the office opened.
“A friend of a friend [told me],” said Quantavious Johnson of Duval county, who came over to take advantage of the opportunity. “I do plan on going out sometime in the summer, but just going to get it done now.”
Typically, appointments at the post office are booked out as far as three-to-four months, so events like Passport Day greatly help the community.
“I called them and it was hard to get an appointment,” said businessman Moe Mokhtar. “So, they said that they have on Saturday and the make it special from 8:30 in the morning to [noon] – first in, first out.” Mokhtar travels internationally on a regular basis and will be heading to Thailand on his next business trip.
Lisette Grant also was in line to get a passport application processed. She and her daughter had an appointment with the Fleming Island post office, but that branch doesn’t have someone available to process passport applications.
“I ended up coming here on a whim, and they told us about this,” Grant said. “My daughter’s traveling on a school trip abroad.”
Agents were kept busy throughout the event.
“We have a wonderful turnout this morning and I’m very excited to get these citizens in on a Saturday morning,” said McRae. “And get their passports processed for them so they can look forward to traveling sometime soon.”