Passport fees to increase

New Schedule of Passport Fees to Take Effect on July 13, 2010

On June 28, 2010, the U.S. Department of State published its Schedule of Fees for Consular Services in the Federal Register. The schedule includes fees for passports, immigrant visas and other consular services. The changes will take effect on July 13, 2010. The revised fees will cover actual operating expenses for the 23 domestic passport agencies.

The most significant changes are increases in standard adult passport fees from $75 to $110 and standard minor passport fees from $60 to $80. Passport cards will increase in cost from $20 to $30 ($15 for minors). The Department of State expediting fees remain at $60 per application.   The Department will begin charging $82 for adding extra pages to existing passports, plus applicable State Department $60 expediting fees. In the past, the Department provided extra pages in a customer’s passport, at no charge. The Department found that the cost of the pages themselves, having the pages placed in the book in a secure manner by trained personnel, and of completing the required security checks results in a cost to the U.S. Government more than $82 per passport book, therefore, the Department will charge the same for previously free service.

Willamette Intl Travel suggests that the traveler request a larger 52-page passport book offered by the State Department for travelers who anticipate needing more than 28 visa pages over the lifespan of the passport.  Any passport applicant may request a larger book at the time of application by including a letter of explanation.  The larger passport is issued at the discretion of the Passport Office and is available at no additional cost.

The adjusted fees are based on a Cost of Service Study completed by the Bureau of Consular Affairs in June 2009. The study, which was the most detailed and exhaustive ever conducted by the U.S. Department of State, established the true cost of providing these consular services, which the Department recovers through the collection of fees.

In their official public announcement the State Department says, “While the Department of State is aware of the financial impact this fee increase may have on individuals and businesses, its passport processing operations must be self-sustaining to the extent possible, and it has accordingly set these fees at a level that will allow cost recovery–and not more. The Department also maintains that the increase in passport fees is not significant incomparison with the overall costs of international travel.”

Thank you to Willamette International Travel in Portland for bringing this to my attention.

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