As we indicated in our blog several months ago, the Department of State is raising the fees for passports and passport cards. The new fee structure will be in effect on July 13, 2010. For more details, see ThereArePlaces updated pages on passports and passport cards.
The raises are substantial, but the State Department claims they are necessary to cover the costs of issuing passports and providing service to American travelers abroad. For example the fee for those older than sixteen who were applying for a first-time passport was $97 and is now $135. Here is a chart showing the State Department’s new schedule of fees.
The State Department has proposed new passport fees. You can read the entire text of the announcement here.
The paragraphs below highlight the price increases being considered.
“The proposed rule for the new passport fees was published in the Federal Register on February 9, 2010 (Public Notice 6887, Federal Register, February 9, 2010, Volume 75, No. 26, beginning at page 6321). Publication of the proposed rule in the Federal Register will be followed by a public comment period of at least 30 days. The public will be notified of the date the new fees will go into effect.
View the proposed rule and submit your comment
The proposed schedule of fees for passport application services is as follows:
Total Cost: $135 for a first-time U.S. Passport Book for adults (age 16 and over)
Total Cost: $110 for U.S. Passport Book renewal (age 16 and over only)
Total Cost: $105 for a U.S. Passport Book for minors (under age 16)
Total Cost: $55 for a first-time U.S. Passport Card for adults (age 16 and over)
Total Cost: $30 for a U.S. Passport Card for adults (age 16 and over) who currently hold a fully valid U.S. Passport
Total Cost: $40 for a U.S. Passport Card for minors (under age 16)
Total Cost: $82 for additional visa pages
The fee for expedited service will remain $60.
The proposed passport “Schedule of Fees” is based on a Cost of Service Study conducted in June 2009. It’s the most detailed study the Department of State has ever conducted of its for-fee services, and represents a cost correction from the last update of the Schedule of Fees four years ago. ”
For a more informative statement on these fees, see this article from CNN.
We are not sure that CNN is correct in their analysis, as they indicate that the current fee for a first time applicant’s Passport Book is $100. However, the current fee for a U.S. Passport Book is $95 plus a $25 execution fee for a total cost of $120. The statement from the State Department on the proposed fees indicates a “Total cost” for a Passport Book under the proposed fee structure would be $135, so the increase could be $15 (over the present total cost), if the definition for “Total Cost”, as used by the State Department, includes the execution fee. We will clafify this for you when more detail is available.
There are other aspects of the proposed price increases that are draconian. As you might suspect, some of our team are among the small group who from time to time need to have pages added to their passports, since we travel a lot. In the past, we could have these pages added for free. Under the new rules is will cost $82 for this service. Wouldn’t it be easier to provide the option of a larger number of pages when the passport is issued? Oh, well, we are sure that is an argument we will not win.
Well, we finally hit June 1, 2009 and that means that all aspects of the United States’ Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) are now in place. If you need to know the details, check our article on the WHTI. In addition, if you have heard about the new Passport Card for use under the WHTI, see this ThereArePlaces article.
The Department of State issued this press release today regarding passports and passport processing time. If you plan to travel abroad next spring and do not yet have your passport APPLY NOW.
Here is the text of the document from the Department of State
In January 2007, the air phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative came into effect. Americans complied in record-breaking unanticipated numbers, and our delivery system was unable to guarantee the same level of service we previously had maintained. In order to process the extraordinary demand, the State Department temporarily detailed close to 500 additional employees to the effort and simultaneously began a robust hiring program. Four hundred new employees have come on board since last May, and we are committed to continue to hire staff as needed.
Passport applications are currently taking between four and six weeks for routine service, and three weeks for expedited service. Fall is traditionally our low demand season, so we urge prospective applicants to apply now. January historically marks the beginning of our busy season, and demand may cause us to amend our website to reflect a possibly longer processing time. Readers are urged to check http://travel.state.gov (TSG) regularly, or apply now if contemplating international travel.
Should you have additional questions after visiting TSG, please contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778).
PASSPORT FACTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO TRAVEL
All persons traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean region are now required to present one of the following documents to enter or re-enter the United States:
· A valid passport;
· DHS-issued (SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST); OR
· A U.S. Coast Guard Mariner Document.
For U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, traveling on official orders, no passport is required.
See http://travel.state.gov for full details.
Further information on port of entry procedures and requirements is available www.dhs.gov.
Get Your Passport NOW!
· If planning or even considering international trips, don’t wait – apply for a passport NOW!
· Historically, we receive fewer passport applications during the fall – making it the best time to apply.
· We are currently processing routine applications within four to six weeks.
For the latest information on obtaining a U.S. passport, we urge you to regularly visit our web site: http://travel.state.gov