There are far better ways for international travelers to spend 10 bucks than on government fees. You can get a Thai massage in Bangkok, admission to a tango hall in Buenos Aires or a seat on the train from Florence to Pisa.
But if you wait, consider yourself $10 none the richer — or wiser. On April 2, the State Department will raise the execution fee from $25 to $35. The charge applies to travelers required to apply for a passport in person. Members of this group include first-time applicants, children under 16 (first-timers and renewals), adults renewing a passport that was issued more than 15 years ago and individuals with a lost, stolen or damaged book. Applicants of this stripe must meet with a U.S. Postal Service passport acceptance agent or a state or local government official, who will verify the applicant’s identity and review the passport documents. Adults who renew their passport by mail do not pay an execution fee and, naturally, are not affected by the change.
On top of the $35 fee, U.S. citizens pay an application fee of $110, or $80 for children under 16, for regular service. Expedited service, which takes half the processing time (two to three weeks), costs $60 more.
But whyyyy the fee increase? Because the State Department said so. And also “recovery of the costs to the U.S. government of providing the consular service,” according to a statement. The Bureau of Consular Affairs’ cost-of-service model and a study by the Postal Service determined that the old $25 wasn’t cutting it.
To assist more applicants before the fee increase, the Washington Passport Agency, at 600 19th St. NW, will offer extended hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays through March 29. Citizens who submit their applications during the agency’s usual business hours — 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays — must make an appointment and provide proof of exigent travel. However, during the later hours, anyone can drop in between 3 and 7 p.m. The agency is also holding special passport events around the country, including the Travel and Adventure Show in Santa Clara, Calif., this weekend and Passport Day at the Atlanta Passport Agency on March 8.
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