If you need a passport, you can still get one even in the midst of the government shutdown. Bucks County Prothonotary Patricia Bachtle said in a release Tuesday that despite the government shutdown in Washington, D.C., passport applications are still being processed by her office and the U.S. Department of State. Applicants' fees cover the State Department's costs to process passports, she said. The Prothonotary's Office—which, as a county agency, is not part of any government shut down—is an agent for the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, she said. "Therefore passport applications will still be accepted and new passports mailed to applicants during the shutdown," she said. Bachtle also recommends travelers register in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, for which there is no charge. Especially for Americans living abroad or frequent travelers, the program allows travelers to be contacted easily in case of emergency. Once registered, Overseas Citizens Services has all the pertinent information to assist a traveler in any crisis. This free service is available to U.S. citizens at: https://step.state.gov/step/ or at www.travel.state.gov .