Important Due to Covid-19, processing times for passports are taking longer than normal for both standard and expedited services.

How Much Does a Passport Cost?

Passport cover, pen and money

The cost of a passport can vary depending on the type of service you require, how quickly you need to get the application processed and any additional services you might need.

All too often, applicants only take into consideration the required fees paid to the U.S. government when calculating how much it will cost to get a passport. That is like using the purchase price of a car to determine the cost of owning the vehicle. It doesn't take into consideration the cost of gas, insurance, maintenance, repairs, accessories, etc.

Similarly, there are additional expenses that one might have to pay to get a passport that are often overlooked. This article seeks to elaborate all possible expenses involved in obtaining a U.S. passport so you can have a better understanding of the total cost.

If you are only interested in the required fees, visit our passport fee table. However, if you are intrested in the true cost of getting a passport, read on.

Required Passport Fees

There are only two required fees. One is the application processing fee. The amount you pay depends on how old you are and whether you want a passport book, a card or both.

Applicants age 16 or older pay $110 for a book, $30 for a card and $140 for both. Minors age 15 or younger pay $80 for a book, $15 for a card and $95 for both.

An execution fee of $35 is also required but only when submitting form DS-11 to get a new passport or replace one that has been lost, stolen or damaged. This fee is not required when applying for a renewal using form DS-82.

Note, passports issued to minors cannot be renewed. The applicant must appear in person in order to apply and pay both the application and execution fees.

Determine which fee or fees you will be required to pay and write down that amount. Read further to find out the total cost of getting your passport.

Special Service Fees

There are three special service fees. First, applicants can pay and additional $60 to expedite the processing of a passport application form. This reduces the processing time by several weeks. Expedited service can be requested when applying in person at a local facility, by mail for renewals or at a regional passport agency.

Another way to accelerate the delivery of your new passport is to request 1-2 day delivery. The fee for this service is currently $17.13. Note, this is only available for passport books. Passport cards are sent visa First Class Mail. If you need your travel document quickly, you will probably want to pay for this service.

One final special service only applies to applicants of new passports who do not have proof of citizenshi but who were previously issued a passport. These applicants can pay $150 for a File Search. Passport Services will search their files to locate any record of U.S. citizenship for that applicant that they have archived.

Click here for complete passport fee schedule.

Will you be requesting any of these special services? If so, you need to add them to the required fees you will be paying.

For example, an adult who is applying for a new passport at an application acceptance facility and who would like to expedite the process and have the new passport delivered quickly would pay four different fees.

  • Application Fee: $110
  • Execution Fee: $35
  • Expedited Service Fee: $60
  • 1-2 Day Delivery: $17.13
  • Total: $222.13

The execution fee is paid to the application acceptance facility while all other fees are paid to the U.S. Department of State.

But these is not all of the expenses the applicant will have. Let's look at a few more.

Additional Expenses

Other expenses that can be incurred during the application process but are often overlooked and not factored in to the total cost of a passport include passport photos, postage and handling, transportation, parking, food and, even, lodging.

Applicants are required to submit one passport photo taken within the last 6 months. Prices range from a few dollars to $15 or more, depending on where you get your passport photo taken.

Yes, you can take and print your own photo but it is not recommended unless you are a photographer and have experience. Unacceptable photos are one of the principal reasons that applications are delayed.

Then, there are the expenses that very few consider such as postage and handling, transportation, parking, food and, even, lodging. Yes, even lodging can be an expense incurred when applying for a passport. This usually happens when an applicant has to travel several hours to apply for expedited service at a regional agency.

You may not use all the items on the list but you probably use some, if not most, of them. So, these need to be factored in to the final price of your passport.

You can easily identify the price of an envelope, shipping cost, transportation, parking, meals and hotel rates either from personal experience of some quick online research. The amount can vary quite a lot, depending on how far you need to travel to apply.

A person who submits an application at an acceptance facility close to their home may have additional expenses of less than $20. Someone who has to travel a long distance and stay overnight in order to apply at a regional agency might end up spending a couple hundred dollars or more.

Time is Money

Another aspect of the application process that should be factored into the cost of a passport is the time you spend preparing and submitting the application.

The time required to complete the online form, print it, schedule an appointment, get a photo taken, and visit an acceptance facility or a regional agency can take from an hour or so to a day or two.

The value you place on your time needs to be factored into the total cost of your passport. Even if you establish an hourly rate of $15, the total will be $150 if you have to dedicate 10 hours to the process.

Add that to all the other expenses and you are looking at a cost of over $400 and that is if you don't have to travel very far to get to a regional agency.

A Fair Comparison

When someone learns how much private passport courier fees are, they often claim that it's expensive. The fee for a reliable expediting service can run from $99 to $499 or more. Yes, it is expensive.

But applying to expedite a passport at a regional agency that is far from where you live can be just as expensive, if not more so.

Once you factor in the many hours on the road, finding the location, parking, waiting in lines, waiting to go back to pick up your passport and the trip back home and all the expenses from such a trip, you can make a fairer comparison.

Contracting an expediter is not the best solution for everyone. It is mainly for those who realize the true cost of all the additional expenses when submiting the application in person is greater than the extra fee they will pay a registered courier.

How much does a passport cost? Again, it depends on the many variables we have listed above. The lowest possible price would be about $50 for the renewal of a passport card for an adult. This would include the application fee, passport photo and postage.

The highest amount an applicant might spend to get a passport can reach $750 or more. That's a pretty high price to pay for a passport and probably only worth the cost in emergency situations.

Hopefully, you better understand all the expenses involved in getting a passport and can more accurately calculate what it will cost you whether you apply by mail, at an application acceptance facility, at a regional agency or through a reliable passport courier service.

Click here for complete passport fee schedule.

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