US Passports... State Department Has Increased Fees

Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 03/12/2010 - 1:02am.

Want to see the Eiffel Tower or soak up the sun on a Bermuda beach, but don't have a passport? It's going to cost you a little more to get one... As of Thursday, the State Department will charge an adult - anyone 16 and older - $135 for a first-time passport. That's up from the $100 that was charged for the past two years (and it was $97 before February 2008).

State Department officials maintain that the 35 percent increase is a small price to pay for the added convenience and faster passport delivery time, which is resulting from the addition of new passport agencies in Detroit; Dallas; Minneapolis; and Tucson, Ariz. The United States now has 23 regional passport agencies.

Over the past year, more American travelers have discovered they needed a passport where before other documentation had sufficed. As of June 2009, Americans have been required to present a passport (or other US government travel document) when returning from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or seaport. A passport was already required for return through a US airport.

To encourage more Americans to get a passport, the State Department will hold "Passport Day in the USA" on March 27 at all regional passport agencies and about 2,000 "passport acceptance facilities," which include some post offices.

A similar event a year ago resulted in 57,000 passport applications.

Other passport fees will also rise. For those under 16, the cost of a passport is $105. Passport renewal jumps to $110.

But if you're in a hurry to get to Paris or that Bermuda beach, the additional fee for expedited passport services remains $60.

Howard LaFranchi - March 11, 2010 - source CSMonitor

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Submitted by SadInAmerica on Fri, 03/12/2010 - 1:02am.