If you’re thinking of getting/renewing/adding pages to a US passport, now’s the time to do it. Passport fees go up July 13th. To get a new passport book, the fee goes from $100 to $135. For renewals, it goes from $75 to $110. The passport card goes from $45 to $55 and it looks like the discount to get one in conjunction with the book is gone. And to add pages, it goes from $0 to a whopping $82!
The State Department says the increase is needed to “cover actual operating expenses for the 301 overseas consular posts, 23 domestic passport agencies and other centers that provide these consular services to U.S. and foreign citizens.”
That’s reasonable enough. The fee that seems a bit absurd is the $82 to add pages to a passport. Granted, only the most frequent international travellers have to deal with that problem, but a fee that’s more like $35 would have been more in line with the other increases. At least the option to get additional pages when ordering a new book won’t incur any additional costs. If you need new pages, you may be better off just renewing your passport instead since the fee difference is $32.
As for getting a passport card, it seems to only make sense for people who live near the Canadian or Mexican border and cross frequently by either land or sea. It can’t be used for air travel, which really limits its usefulness.
In the end I hope the new fees don’t discourage Americans from getting a passport and getting out in the world. In some ways, a passport is a great deal. Even at the new rates, a new passport costs $13.50 a year. A small fee indeed for freedom.