By the Numbers: 8,284
Economic recovery coupled with Silicon Valley’s increasingly international population has translated to a rush for passports.
The Santa Clara County Clerk-Recorder’s Office says it's seen a sharp uptick in the number of people asking for the handy blue book.
More than twice as many people took an active interest overseas travel, pushing the average daily number of passport applications from 30 a day in 2012, to 40 a day in 2013, to 69 a day to date this year. In cumulative numbers, that’s 10,386 for all of last year compared to 8,284 during the first six months of 2014.
Naturally, that’s led to long lines at the Clerk-Recorder’s, which fields about 500 walk-in customers per day. The growing number of passport-holders countywide echoes a national trend. The U.S. now has twice as many passport-armed citizens than it had a decade ago and 15 times the number in 1989.
Perhaps another reason more people apply for the federal document is because until 2007, it wasn’t needed to visit Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean. It used to be possible to do a decent amount of international traveling without one, notes Clerk-Recorder Gina Alcomendras.
To handle the surge, the county will start taking appointments online (www.clerkrecorder.org) and by phone (408.299.5688) starting next month and extend scheduling times from 8am to 4:30pm on weekdays (though actual appointment times will stay within a 8:30am to 2:30pm window).
Appointments could be scheduled for the next day on a first-come, first-served basis or up to a month ahead of time. The fees remain the same: $110 for applicants 16 and older, $80 for anyone 15 and younger.