A decade ago, if you had gone to the Guilford County Register of Deeds Office and asked for a passport, they would have told you that you were in the wrong place.

However, seven years ago, Guilford County Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen added the service to the long list of existing deeds office services, and now, in 2023, he’s kind of amazed at the immense popularity of the offering.

On Friday, Jan. 27, the Register of Deeds Office took in 88 applications and Thigpen said, in recent months, the service has been in high demand and he’s been worried about the staff who handle passports being overcome with exhaustion.  In the past, much of the work has been handled by staff with other deeds duties, however, on Friday Thigpen said the office may need another position dedicated to the service.

That’s not a bad thing for county taxpayers because the passport service – and the deed’s office operations as a whole is a profit center.

It’s only halfway through the fiscal year – Guilford County’s financial year starts on July 1 – but the revenue from passports is already at its projected goal for the entirety of fiscal 2022-2023.

Thigpen said he’s now hoping that the revenue generated by passport services could hit $200,000 by the time the fiscal year wraps up on June 30.

“That would be really good,” Thigpen said of the possible $200,000 mark.

He said that, obviously, during the pandemic, the passport business wasn’t the best business to be in, but he added that the new numbers coming in lately show that people are starting to travel to remote destinations again.

“I do think things are opening up,” he said. “People are starting to travel again and things are starting to get back to normal.”

Thigpen said that, on days when kids are out of school, the demand for passports shoots up, and he added that his office intends to hold more “Passport Fair” events out in the community in 2023.