POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Passport appointments are either getting canceled or are becoming scarce as offices across Virginia are becoming overwhelmed.
Vince Whittaker, a deputy clerk with Powhatan County Circuit Court, said their number of passport appointments have nearly doubled since this time last year.
In January 2022, the court’s office handled 66 passport applications. So far this month, they’ve handled 108 passport applications, with more than 20 appointments scheduled on Friday.
Whittaker said people are eager to get out and soak up some sun after being couped up for so long.
“I think they got just cabin fever,” Whittaker said. “We’re starting to see an influx of families coming in. It seems like people are going somewhere tropical. As COVID’s kind of slacked up, everybody’s going to Aruba, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas. A lot of cruises are being scheduled.”
Marcus Erockiasamon traveled from his home in Mechanicsville to the Bon Air Mega Passport Center on Friday afternoon.
“This is the only place that accepts walk-ins,” he said. “Other places we had to book an appointment and the earliest appointment available was only in February and we don’t want to wait that long.”
Erockiasamon is taking a summer trip to India with his family, so he was relived to get his newborn’s passport application out of the way, even though he said the center was crowded.
“This is the first time we are traveling after COVID,” Erockiasamon said. “We want to get ahead and get our passports on time.”
Whittaker said that many county clerks are taking extra steps to get people their passports. One Powhatan County Circuit Court clerk started offering the passport service at the courthouse even though the Virginia Supreme Court didn’t mandate her office to do this.
“She does this to help out the citizens and the surrounding counties,” Whittaker said. “Last Friday we had a few walk-ins come in saying ‘Please, please, please help us’.”
He even recalled someone traveling from Sterling, Va. because they couldn’t get an appointment anywhere else.
“It’s a team effort here for everything,” Whittaker said.