If you need to renew your passport this year or get your first one for an upcoming trip abroad, you might want to take care of it right away.
The U.S. State Department recently announced that it will increase fees on “passport execution,” starting on April 2. This means that individuals who apply for, or renew, a passport in person will see a $10 increase in fees. After April 2, anyone 16 and older can expect to spend $145 instead of the usual $135 to receive or renew a passport.
Are You Due For A Renewal?
Keep in mind that many countries require travelers to have at least 6 months left on their passports before it expires in order to enter. So, even if your passport is not due to expire until the end of 2018, you may want to consider renewing it now to save yourself a headache—and $10!
Why Is The Price Going Up?
The price hike is reported to be due to the increased costs of processing passport applications. There is one loophole, however. Fees are only going up for travelers who apply for a passport in person. That means if you are eligible to renew your passport by mail, and choose to do so, the total cost will remain $110 (adults who are renewing by mail do not have to pay the execution fee, though minor children do).
You can get the details about how to apply online on the State Department website.
Who’s Eligible For Renewal By Mail?
People who would like to renew their passports by mail must meet the following requirements:
– Passport must be in your current name
– Passport must have been issued within the last 15 years
– Passport must have been issued when you were at least 16 years old
– Passport must be undamaged
If you do not meet all of those requirements, or are applying for a passport for the first time, then you will have to apply in person, typically at a post office with passport services, and will be subject to the increased fees starting in April.
It should also be noted that if your appearance has changed significantly (think: a 100 pound weight loss or gain), you may need to update your passport photo. While this is likely not a concern for most, it has happened that people who’ve had an extreme change in weight have had issues passing passport control.
Processing Times May Be Affected
With news of this price increase, there may be a surge in passport applications and renewals, which could cause processing times to be even longer than the typical 4-to-6 week estimate.
So if you’re planning a summer vacation overseas this year, go ahead and get your passport renewed to beat the rush!
One more thing to keep in mind if you’re planning international travel: Some countries require visas. China, Cuba and many African nations are just some of the countries that require visas in advance of your departure date. Others will require a visa to be obtained upon entering the country. Check out Passport Index for a good rundown of which countries require visas, and visit the State Department site for up-to-date information on each country.