Need a passport? York County office is moving

Starting Monday, York County residents will only have one location to get their passports.

The York County clerk of court, the only office in the county that issues passports, is consolidating its passport services in one central location in downtown York.

After this week, the clerk’s office will move all of its passport services to 2 N. Congress St., in the same building currently used by the probate judge’s office. Passports will no longer be available at York County’s Heckle Boulevard office complex and the clerk of court’s civil office on Liberty Street in York.

Clerk David Hamilton said space had become too much of an issue to accommodate everyone who needs travel documents.

“We have a small lobby (on Heckle), and there’s a lot of pressure to hold enough people,” Hamilton said. “We’ve had 100 people come in for passports before.”

While Hamilton’s office is the only one in York County that issues passports, it takes applications on a walk-in basis. That means York County gets a lot of spillover from North Carolina, where passport applications are on a waiting list. Hamilton said he’s even seen signs in Mecklenburg County post offices notifying anyone seeking a passport that York County takes walk-ins.

Because passports are a federal service, the office has to issue passports regardless of where the applicant lives.

Space issues at the Heckle complex are an issue in the Nov. 3 county bond referendum, when voters will be asked to decide on an $89 million bond issue to expand office and courtroom space at the building and other county offices.

The new passport office is in a rented office building, but Hamilton said the taxpayers won’t incur any new costs because the probate judge already pays to rent the whole building.

Passport services may yet move again if voters approve the bond to expand the Heckle complex. The probate offices will move out once renovation work finishes on the historic county courthouse across the street.

“I do not want the taxpayers to pay another penny,” Hamilton said.

Bristow Marchant: 803-329-4062, @BristowatHome