Passport Fees

You want to travel abroad. Maybe your company is sending you to close out a deal overseas; maybe you want to do some sightseeing on a personal vacation; or perhaps you want to take the family on a little adventure to Canada to see the unspoiled wildlife, or drive down to Mexico to escape the winter cold.

Whatever your reasons for traveling internationally, you’ve probably started doing a little research on obtaining you U.S. Passport. You’ve looked at what requirements you need to meet, what information you need, and where in your area you can go to apply for a passport. You know what you need to do to go in, fill out your U.S. Passport application, and present the necessary paperwork so you can get out without so much as a mild headache.

What many people don’t know is how much it actually costs to get a U.S. Passport.

When it comes to a standard U.S. Passport (the DS-11 version), the price will depend on which “package” you are getting. If you do not currently have a passport, or are aplying for the very first time, you have a few options.

 Adults Getting A Passport For The First Time

The typical U.S. Passport Book – the one you usually see people presenting at airports to get stamped – are $110 with a first-time processing fee of $25. There is also the option of getting a U.S. Passport Card, which is $30 with a $25 processing fee. The most popular option (in order to have identification backup in case you lose one or the other) is to get both the U.S. Passport Book, as well as the card. This will cost $140 with a one-time processing fee of $25. Most people will tell you that the last option just makes more sense, because you will have two forms of identification while traveling.

 Renewing A Passport

 If you are renewing your U.S. Passport, you won’t have to present as much paperwork (usually, mailing in your old passport with the renewal request will suffice), and you won’t have to pay as much as first-time applicants. To renew your U.S. Passport Book, it costs $110. For the Card, $30. For both the U.S. Passport Book and Card, it will cost $140. The processing fee that applies to first-time applicants is waived in this case.

Children/People Under 16 Years Of Age

 Not everyone who travels is an adult. Students taking trips abroad, and children going on family vacations or visition people internationally also need passports.

For a person 16 years old and younger, the fees for getting a U.S. Passport are slightly less than listed above, but they come with the same options. For someone in this age group, a U.S. Passport Book will cost $80 plus a one-time processing fee of $25. For the card by itself, the cost is $15 plus the $25 fee for processing. As with the listing for adults, there is an option (again, this is the one that’s recommended) for both the U.S. Passport Book and the Card. This will run for $95 plus the $25 processing fee. These charges and fees also apply to minors who are renewing their U.S. Passports.

 Optional Passport Services

 In addition to getting a U.S. Passport, there are other services you can get, and which have very nominal fees attached to them.

Overnight Delivery – This makes certain that once your application has been processed and your U.S. Passport is ready to be shipped, it will be overnighted to your address. The cost for this service is $12.72.

Expedited Service  - A typical U.S. Passport application takes roughly 6-8 weeks to process, once the application leaves your hands. Getting expedited or “rushed” serivce will cut down this waiting time to 2-3 weeks, and is well worth the $60 fee to get your travel plans arranged.

File Search – This is a rarely used service, but if you need to verify a previous U.S. Passport or consular birth in another country, a written request will get you the information you seek. This service costs $150 per request, and will be waived in the case of your U.S. Passport getting lost or stolen.

Adding Pages – If you are a globe-hopping, jetsetting traveler, you might find the pages of your U.S. Passport filling up with stamps from various countries. If you anticipate this happening to you, you can have additional pages included in your passport for $82.

Name Changes/Informational Errors

 You may find that throughout your globetrotting days that your name may legally change due to divorce or marriage, or perhaps getting a degree that adds some extra letters onto your name. Also, it should be noted that even the U.S. Bureau of Cunsular Affairs is not infallible. Sometimes clerical errors do occur when printing one’s name, address, or date of birth on a passport. If any of the situations in this section should occur, you can have your U.S. Passport information updated, free of charge.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge of what it costs to get a U.S. Passport, you should have no problem planning for your next big trip abroad!

Passports for Children

Renewing a child’s passport is a little more complicated than that of a regular passport for anybody over the age of 18. The reason for this stems from child abduction laws. The heightened security is to protect the child since if it was possible to easily obtain a new passport; an abducted child would easily assume a new name and never be found. These laws have made it much safer, but also at the same time a little more time consuming.

Based on the fact that renewal is for the protection of the child, when they need their passport renewed, it must be done with the parent present, in person. It cannot be done online or through the mail for minors under the age of 16. Any child under the age of 16 must have a parental consent form filled in addition.

The first thing that you need to do is fill out the DS-11 from the official website. This is the actual application for the child’s passport and should be completed by hand. You should not sign the application until you have been told that it is ok by an Acceptance Agent when you arrive in person. After that, it is expected of you to have ready your social security number for the child. If you do not include it, there will be a possibility that your requests will be delayed and even denied.

Once the DS-11 form has been completely filled out, you will have to provide evidence that the child is a citizen of the United States. You may use previously issued passports, a birth certificate, a birth certificate from another country, naturalization certificate, adoption decree, a court order that claims custody, a court order that claims guardianship, or a report of a birth abroad.

Unlike an adult passport, a child’s passport cannot use secondary evidence as much a regular adult passport. There are a lot of reasons behind this, but the main one being that since children grow so quickly, it would be a huge inconvenience to those looking at the passport to see a 4 year old photo of an 8 year old. When it comes to the photo, it must be a 2×2 that was taken in the last 6 months. This is very important since children grow so quickly it cannot be an old photo at all.

If the child has a mother and father, both parents either must be present during the passport issuing, or the second parent must have a notarized document signed that states that they approve the passport for their child along with the DS-11 signed form.

If there is one parent that has sole legal custody, there are a lot of different ways that you can claim that you are the single holder of custody of the child. One of the easiest ways is going to be providing your Adoption decree, which should have been given to you when you first legally to custody of him or her. Remember that there are actually other ways too, but since most people are going to have the adoption decree, this is easily the most practical for all people.

The final part is the fee itself. The fee is $95 for the book and card plus the $25 execution/processing fee. If you just want the passport or the card it will be $80 or $15 respectively. Payments accepted are Credit Cards, checks, Money orders/Cashier’s checks, bank drafts and debit cards. Some facilities accept cash payments, but ensure that you have a backup just in case. No cash payment through the mail.

Getting a Passport

The first step involved in getting a passport  is to gather all the necessary items that you need to process the request. The very first thing that you need to do is fill out the form DS-11. This is the actual application for the US Passport and should be completed online or by hand. You won’t be able to sign the application until it is allowed by an Acceptance Agent; you must also tell them your social security number. If you do not include it, there will be a possibility that your requests will be delayed and even denied.

Once the DS-11 form has been completely filled out, you will have to provide evidence that you are a citizen of the United States. This will include previously used passports, a birth certificate, a birth certificate from another country, naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship.

The above are considered the primary evidence that you are eligible. If you do not have these then there are a whole host of other things that you can use as evidence to prove that you are eligible for receiving a passport. Just call ahead and ask what you can use to prove this, and the chances are pretty good that you will have at least one of the listed items that can be used (there are roughly 10). Unfortunately voter’s registration cards, army discharge papers and your social security card are not acceptable forms of identification.

If you are completing your passport in person, you must bring an acceptable form of identification such as a previously used passport, certificate of naturalization, a valid driver’s license, and last but not least a current Government or Military ID.

When arriving, bring a photocopy of the front and back of each ID document that you are providing – It must be using standard 8+1/2 x 11 paper showing both the front and back of each card or document. Ensure that you do not place both the front and back on the same side of the paper. Each card side must be on a separate piece of paper, whether that be a different sheet, or the back-side of one sheet. It is permissible to increase the size of a photocopy, but never to decrease.

If you are disabled and someone is providing your information on your behalf, they must present their ID when they appear also.

Once all the information has been filled out, all copies made, the fee must be paid. The typical fees for a passport are $110 for the application and $25 for the execution. If you wish to also get a card along with the book, expect to pay $140 + $25. For just the card, it is $30 + $25.Renewals are the same prices minus the execution fee of $25.

The normal processing times for standard delivery are roughly 5-7 days long and it can be tracked online also at the website. They are sent out via 1st class mail, and unfortunately cannot be sent out with overnight delivery so prepare just in case you need the passport urgently. If you do need it urgently, there are other options. As long as you are eligible, you can schedule an appointment at a one of the 24 regional passport agencies within the United States.

If you do need the passport urgently, the cost for expedited service is $60, so it would be wise to try and think ahead of time when you need to get your passport for the first time or have it renewed.

Replacing a Lost Passport

Your United States Passport is a very important document and should be safeguarded as well as one can do both when in use, and not in use. A lost passport is not quite as simple as requesting a new one. There are a couple steps that you must take to ensure that the lost passport is accounted for correctly, the same way that you would report a lost credit card.

If you ever find that your passport has been lost or stolen, the first thing you must do is report it. If you are within the United States, call toll free 1877-487-2778 and let the representative know whether it has been lost or stolen. If you are overseas, you must visit your local US Embassy or Consulate and report it immediately. Do not wait for reporting a lost card as it can be a serious security risk for the United States.

If you do not want to call or visit a local office, it is permissible to fill out form DS-64, which is what you fill out in case of a lost passport or one that has been stolen. This form DS-64 must be filled out and mailed immediately and then sent to the US Department of State Passport Services; a bizarre name for a service, but something that is incredibly important. The same goes if you happen to stumble upon someone else’s passport – report it immediately and mail it to the address above in a good envelope.

When sending in form DS-64, if you wish to obtain a replacement and you are not overseas, sent in form DS-11 with the application. DS-11 is the general passport application form that must be completed with as accuracy otherwise delay times or possible declines may occur. Ensure that you provide your social security number with this form. If you do not include it, there will be a possibility that your request will be delayed and even denied altogether. Once the DS-11 form has been filled out, you will have to provide evidence that you are a citizen of the United States before the renewed passport or card will be sent out. This will include previously used passports, a birth certificate, a birth certificate from another country, naturalization certificate or a certificate of citizenship and pay the fee of $95. That fee is for the passport book and passport card. If you just want the passport or the card it will be $80 and $15.

If you are not applying for another passport, simply send form DS-64 alone. Once the form has been sent, any found passports following must be mailed in. They cannot be re-used as they will be off the usable list and invalidated. Unless it is specifically requested otherwise, the old passport will be destroyed for security issues. It is important to remember that once a passport has been reported missing, it cannot be reclaimed as your own, it is no longer usable.

Be very careful when it comes to ordering replacement or temporary passports and ensure that you are using the US Government for replacement. There are plenty of websites and companies who use fraudulent ways to assure you that your passport will be expedited if you pay a very large fee. Most of these are a scam and you should only engage with true government agencies when it comes to your passport.

If you are truly in a rush for the passport, ensure that you contact a passport and visa expeditor as they may be able to do your process quicker than the standard lines. Go to your nearest office to request this.