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Act Now Before the Fee for New U.S. Passports Increases

Feb. 16, 2018
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If you’re thinking about applying for a new U.S. passport, sooner is better than later, as the fee is set to increase $10, to a total of $145 for an adult, on April 2.

The increase, aimed at recapturing the true cost of issuing a new passport, will not affect passport renewals by mail, according to the U.S. Department of State. That cost will remain at $110.

However, the passport “execution” fee — charged when you must apply in person — will go to $35 from $25. The execution fee is only part of the total cost of a new passport for an adult, which will reach $145 after April 2; the cost for children younger than 16 will be $115.

The U.S. Travel Association didn’t comment on the likely impact, if any, of a fee increase on international travel by Americans. 

But if you were planning to apply for a new passport anyway, you might as well do so soon before the $10 increase.

In addition to being required when traveling abroad, a passport can also be used as ID in other cases, including airport security screening, which could be important if you live in a state where your driver’s license soon won’t be a sufficient form of ID.

You can also use a passport for identification in opening a bank account and several other situations in which you need to provide a government-issued photo ID.

Who will pay the higher fee?

You’ll pay the execution fee if you’re a first-time applicant who must apply in person. Most people choose to do that at a U.S. post office. The State Department projects a total of about 11.5 million in-person applicants in 2018. (The fee applies to anyone filling out a passport application form called DS-11.)

In addition to those applying for their first passport, people in these situations will need to apply in person and incur the higher fee after April 2:

  • You haven’t renewed an old passport in 15 years
  • You are younger than 16, or you were when your previous passport was issued
  • Your passport was lost, stolen or damaged

The execution fee also applies to applications for passport cards for land and sea border crossings from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Cards are not valid for air travel. The total fee for cards will increase to $65 from $55 for adults.

The State Department said it requested the fee increase after two studies put the actual cost of in-person services — identity verification and document review — at about $33 or $34 per applicant, depending on the study. The fee was last adjusted in 2008, when the State Department lowered it from $30 to $25.

Paying an extra $10 after April 2 might not sound like a huge amount, but you could use the fee increase as motivation to act soon and cross off “apply for passport” from your to-do list.

Additional resources

Department of State travel website

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