U.S. travelers were all abuzz mid-last month, when the U.S. government announced that Americans would soon be able to renew their passports online.
This was followed up by another announcement a few days later. Starting Dec. 27, the cost of a U.S. passport book would rise by $20. So the price for a first-time or replacement adult passport would be $165 (a 14% increase), and renewals will now cost $130 (an 18% price hike). The State Department said the fee increase was “…necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world.”
On Dec 27, the cost for a passport book will increase 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. For current passport fees, see: https://t.co/Ky2VrT7dtB. pic.twitter.com/SAw5HwaVUg
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) December 20, 2021
Was the price increase surprising? Well, yes and no. The last time the price of U.S. passports had gone up was April 2018. At that time, first-time applicants had to pay $10 more for their execution fee (there was no fee change for renewals). Before that, the last across-the-board rate hike had been back in 2010.
So it was a surprise (or not) vs. coincidence (or not) that the price increase was announced so soon after telling us about an improvement in service. All that notwithstanding, if nothing else, it’s not as if passport fees increased ALL the time; they’re usually well spread out, with several years of sustained pricing. This is why another increase, albeit a very small one, so soon after the last one, was so unexpected.
Granted, it’s an increase for an optional service. However effective January 10, 2022, the price for 1-2 day delivery has gone from $17.56 to $18.32.
Here are all the fees as of December 27th:
And effective January 10th, as per travel.state.gov (click on the fee chart):
The only way a typical passport holder may be aware of the change is if they notice this page of travel.state.gov’s website – they say there’s a “COVID-19 Alert” update as of January 10th, but, as usual, give no hint of what or where the update is; you have to go digging for it. There’s nothing mentioned about the increase otherwise – no dated update on any of their social media.
Granted, we’re only talking a difference of 76¢. It looks as if it’s because of an increase in Post Office rates. But it still would’ve have been nice if someone at the State Dep’t had mentioned it was coming.
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