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State Department Proposes Increase in Passport Fees

Passport Fees Are Going Up

Passport Fees Are Going Up

The U.S. Department of State recently published a proposal for changes in the Schedule of Fees that included increases in passport fees. The motive behind the proposal is to recover costs of consular services.


When the new schedule enters into effect, adults will pay 47% more when applying for a new passport book or a passport renewal. The application fee will increase from $75 to $110. Fees for a passport card will go up to $30 from the current $20 for an adult and to $15 from the current $10 for a minor.

Adding visa pages has always been a no-cost service but this will end with the new fee schedule. Getting visa pages added to your passport will soon cost you $82.

Another service that will experience a significant fee increase is file searches. Agents must do file searches when applicants fail to submit adequate proof of United States citizenship. This fee will be increased from $60 to $150. Applicants can avoid this fee by carefully reading and understanding which documents are acceptable for proof of citizenship.

The proposal was published on February 9, 2010. A 30-day period has been established for the State Department to receive and review comments from the public. Only after evaluation of this input will the changes be implemented. A specific date to begin using the new passport fees has not been published.

If you want to avoid the increase in fees, you should apply for a passport as soon as possible. You might even take advantage of Passport Day USA 2010 to do this.

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New Passport Agency Opens in Buffalo New York

Buffalo Passport Agency

Buffalo Passport Agency

The U.S. Department of State opened the Buffalo Passport Agency on October 18, 2010. The opening of this agency in New York is part of a plan to gradually increase the number of agencies that process passports in the United States and is the second passport agency in New York.

The Buffalo Passport Agency will especially assist Western New Yorkers in obtaining passports within two weeks or less. Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) hailed the new agency as an important factor in "facilitating the smooth and efficient flow of traffic between Western New York and southern Ontario."

The Buffalo Passport Agency is located at 111 Genesee Street, Suite 101 in Buffalo, NY 14203. Operating hours are Monday through Friday (except for Wednesday) from 9:00 to 3:00 and Wednesday from 10:00 to 3:00. Appointments must be made by calling the National Passport Information Center's automated system at 1-877-487-2778.

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Pat-Down Procedures – What to Expect at Airport Security

Airport Security - Full-Body Scan

Airport Security - Full-Body Scan

The new TSA pat-down procedures have been in the news a lot lately and, due to this, may have resulted in the procedure being blown out of proportion. Some Americans have even made the choice to avoid air travel in order to not go through the pat-down. This article will provide some helpful hints about what to expect at airport security check points.

While the pat-down procedure may not be something that anyone looks forward to, we may accept them more easily if we consider the words of TSA’s administrator, John S. Pistole, which he recently wrote in a statement to the American people about the TSA security measures. He wrote, “We all wish we lived in a world where security procedures at airports weren't necessary but that just isn't the case."

The fact is that only a small number of passengers - 3 out of 100 - go through the pat-down procedures. Who is selected for this extra security measure? The pat-down is performed on those who either choose not to go through the full-body scan or those who set off the alarm when passing through the metal detector.

Given the two motives above, it is possible to avoid the pat-down procedure. First of all, do not opt out of the full-body scan. The process is quick and painless. According to three different institutions including the FDA and John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, the machines pose no health risk to those who pass through them. Also, none of the images from the scan are stored.

Another way to avoid the pat-down is to not set up the alarm of the metal detector. Some of the items that might set off an alarm include keys, coins, jewelry, cell phones, pagers, PDAs, metal hair barrettes, belt buckles, clothing with metals snaps or buttons and bras with wire in them. Avoid using as many of these as possible on the day you travel. Those items that you must carry with you such as keys or a cell phone should be taken out of your pockets before going through metal detector.

If you are called aside for the pat-down procedure, understand that it is not personal. Those who perform the pat-downs have been trained in the procedure. The pat-down is done by someone of the same sex as the passenger. You can have a witness present. Remember, TSA officials are only following pre-established procedures that are in place to guarantee your security and that of all the other passengers. The truth is that the majority of Americans support these security measures.

We live in a world where terrorism is a real threat. Because this threat is real and is ever increasing, these security measures are necessary. The pat-down procedures are just one component of the security package meant to keep air travel safe. It may be a hassle and consume more of your time but you will no doubt be thankful these airport security measures are in place each time you hear that weapons and explosives were confiscated at an airport due to the pat-down procedures.

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