US Passports Are About to Get More Expensive

The U.S. Department of State is adding a new security surcharge to the bill

Close-up of American passport
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For Christmas this year, it seems like the U.S. State Department will be taking on the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. Beginning Dec. 27, it will increase the cost of U.S. passport books by $20.

"The increased fee is necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world," wrote the State Department in a tweet.

The price hike applies across the board, whether you're applying for a new passport or renewing an old one. For those 16 and older, that means the cost of a new passport will increase to $165 from $145, while renewals for the same age group will rise to $130 from $110. Passports for travelers under 16 will cost $135, up from $115.

On the bright side, passport processing times have been slowly decreasing after a major slowdown during the pandemic; right now, the State Department says it will take just eight to 11 weeks to get your new passport, down from a record high of 18 weeks over the summer. You can also expedite the process by paying a $60 rush fee, with a turnaround time of five to seven weeks. And in case of a travel emergency, some passport centers are even open for limited in-person renewals, allowing travelers in a rush to get their passport in just 72 hours.

Plus, President Biden recently announced a new online passport application service that should be far speedier than the current snail-mail method, though the administration has been mum on exactly when the service will become available—and what it'll cost. Currently, it estimates that online renewals will roll out in the next six to 12 months.

So if you're due for a passport renewal in the next year or so, make sure you get your application in early, and prepare for a bit of a hit to the wallet.

Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Department of State. "Processing Times for U.S. Passports." Retrieved December 22, 2021

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