On December 20, the State Department announced that the cost of passport books will increase by $20. The price hike applies to all customers, and it will take effect starting December 27.
The $20 bump specifically applies to the security surcharge fees associated with passports. According to the State Department’s Twitter account, “The increased fee is necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world.”
So how exactly will that extra money be used? Back in 2006, a slew of new features were added to passports, including polycarbonate coating over pages, raised lettering and watermarks, and RFID chips. The surcharges help pay for all those features, therein better protecting travelers from identity theft and fraud.
You can find the current passport book prices on the State Department’s website, but this is what you can expect to pay in fees beginning next week:
- If you’re an adult (16 and older) and applying for the first time: $165
- If you’re an adult (16 and older) and renewing your passport: $130
- If your child is under 16 and you’re applying for their passport: $135
There are also special fees for rush orders, including $60 for expedited service and $17.56 for one-to-two-day delivery. Those fees will not be affected by the upcoming price increases.
This news comes just one week after President Biden signed an executive order to switch mail-in passport renewals to an online system, though we don’t know exactly when that change will take place. Right now, the process involves filling out forms, printing them out, and mailing them (along with your expired passport) to a designated center.
In the meantime, the State Department recommends that travelers apply for new or renewed passports several months before they’re scheduled to go abroad. The current wait time of 8 to 11 weeks is certainly an improvement from the 18-week period we saw over the summer and fall, but you don’t want to wait until the last minute—adding expedited service fees on top of these increased security fees isn’t a great way to start a new year of travel.