The US Passport Got More Expensive, But Be Thankful You’re Not Australian

Feb 2, 2018

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Beginning April 2, 2018, US passport fees will go up by $10, for people applying in person, as opposed to by mail.

“Passport execution” refers to any passport application where you meet a government official in person to have your documents reviewed and your identity verified. This includes the USPS passport acceptance agents down at your neighborhood post office.

Execution fees go toward the costs incurred for the government to offer the service in-person, which is why passport renewals by mail will not see a fee increase. Application fees will not increase at this time.

This fee increase brings the total cost of a US passport book up to $145, or $175 if you opt for a passport book and card combo. However, US passports for adults 16 and older are valid for 10 years, so your annual cost breakdown still hovers around the price of a fancy appetizer.

Americans aren’t the only ones paying a higher premium for travel in 2018. If the vote passes Parliament, Brits will also looking at significantly higher fees for snail-mail passport applications. Under the current proposed plan, adults will pay 17% more, from £72.50 ($102.42 USD) to £85 ($120.07 USD), while children’s passports will cost 27% more, from £46 ($65.01 USD) to £58.50 ($82.66 USD).

The increased fares are designed to encourage people to apply online, as the fee for online applications will only rise by £3 ($4.24 USD) – the cost of inflation.

On the other side of the globe, there’s nothing down about prices for The Land Down Under: Aussies have seen some of the steepest passport fee increases over the past decade. On January 1, 2018, adult travelers began paying $282 AUD ($223.74 USD) for a new 10-year passport, up from $277 AUD ($219.77 USD) in 2017, and a staggering 41% more than the 2008 price of $200 AUD ($158.77 USD).

Australian passport rates are tied to the nation’s annual consumer price index, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

With the 2018 price hike, Australia now holds the dubious honor of having “the most expensive passports in the world” – a title previously held by Turkey, according to global comparisons from 2015. However, the Turkish government has since capped the price of a 4-10 year passport at 764 Turkish Lira ($203.03 USD), which, with currency conversions taken into account, makes Turkey’s passports around $20 USD cheaper than Australian passports in 2018.

Swiss passports still hover at 145 Swiss Francs ($155.61 USD), holding their third-place rank.

One country does charge more than Australia does, at least for its citizens abroad: Syria.

Although the price hikes only apply to citizens abroad, the more than 5.4 million Syrians who have fled the country will have to fork over hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars to renew expiring identification at various overseas consulates.

The application process itself is fraught with uncertainty, red tape, and rampant corruption, with some citizens looking at a staggering cost of around $4,665 USD for a new passport, according to Public Radio International in July 2017.

The 2017 cost for a Syrian passport stands out in stark contrast to a 2012 cost of around $9 USD.

Country 2018 Price of 10-Year Adult Passport*
Australia $223.74 USD
Turkey $203.03 USD
Switzerland $155.61 USD
Italy $144.78 USD
Mexico $137.80 USD
United States $135 in person; $125 by mail
Canada $129.08 USD

*at today’s exchange rates

Featured photo by Getty Images


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