U.S. travelers who will need a new passport in 2018 can potentially save themselves a few dollars if they avoid waiting until the last minute to apply.
According to the U.S. Department of State, passport “execution fees” will increase from $25 to $35 starting April 2, 2018. The fee change will bump the total cost of a U.S. passport to $145 for adults and $115 for children 16 and younger.
The execution fee, however, is only charged to people who apply in person at an official passport agency, such as the U.S. post office or other consular offices. The $10 fee increase will not apply to individuals who renew their passports by mail.
According to the Department of State, passport execution fees are set at a rate that will allow for the “recovery of the costs to the U.S. government of providing the consular service.” But two recent studies, one conducted by the Department of State and another by the U.S. Postal Service, determined that actual processing costs are now higher than the $25 fee, prompting the increase.
Interestingly, the State Department notes that while the great majority of in-person applications occur at U.S. post office facilities across the nation, about 10 percent of in-person applications are executed in the presence of a Department of State Official. A lesser amount are also executed in the presence of federal and local officials.
The passport execution fee change, which was first published in the Federal Registry in 2016, was submitted to Congress for approval. The new rule will go into effect April 2, 2018.
Now could be a good time to obtain an American passport, as confusion continues over which U.S. drivers’ licenses passengers can use to board a domestic flight this year. What’s more, a recent study found that American passport holders tend to be more happy with their life than non-passport holders. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, courtesy of Brexit, travelers will soon stop being issued the burgundy E.U. passport, and instead will receive one with a classic blue and gold color scheme.
For more information on passport renewals in the United States, visit travel.state.gov.