The Harris County District Clerk’s passport operation recently marked its first year of service, and during that time, its applications and revenue have increased seven-fold.
Business has increased so steadily at the passport service that the service is projected to add $300,000 to the county coffers during the next 12 months.
District Clerk Chris Daniel said, “I worked to create a passport service from the time I came into office. But even I’ve been surprised at the overwhelming positive response it has received. Once the service was created, the number of folks coming into the DCO for passports has grown exponentially.”
The service handled 699 applications in June, seven times as many as during its first month of operations. In June, the service made $17,000 for the county.
The passport office is located in the Civil Courthouse at 201 Caroline in the heart of Houston’s downtown court complex.
Daniel said he sought to open a passport service after observing long lines for passports at post offices and other agencies.
“I said to myself, ‘We can do better than this.’ I travel abroad myself, and I’m too busy to wait in line for four hours to renew my passport,” Daniel said. “Here we have the opportunity to truly have a ‘one-stop shop’ service in partnership with the County Clerk’s Office. You can get a copy of your birth certificate at the County Clerk’s Office and then get your passport and photo at the District Clerk’s Office. Everything’s in one building.”
Daniel and Paul Coselli, who oversees the passport service as DCO finance director and executive counsel, have insisted that clerks provide excellent customer service. Most passport customers who come to the District Clerk’s Office are waited on within 15 minutes.
Customers have given the service glowing reviews. “Thank you for providing this passport service,” one customer wrote. “You are helpful, courteous and quick! SO much better than the USPS. A lifesaver.”
The passport service is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome. Customers may make appointments by calling 713-755-1674.