“Stop the mail delivery, unplug the appliances, put the dog in a kennel, get a passport…” If you have had this train of thought recently when preparing for a long-distance trip, you may have followed it up with, “How much are passports?” Because passports can take a long time to process, and are crucial for traveling outside of the country, making arrangements for your family’s credentials should be a part of your earliest planning.
How Much are Passports for Adults?
For the purposes of a passport, the age of adulthood is 16. Each adult in your travel party will need a passport book, and a passport card. Payment for these documents must be made in two parts. First, you must pay an application fee of $140. The execution fee is applied for the actually issuance of the passport. This fee is $25. You also have the option of purchasing these two documents separately. The book itself is $110 for application, and the card is $30, with each carrying an execution fee of $25. It is only necessary to purchase a passport card separately if one of the members of your traveling party is not currently in possession of a valid passport document.
How Much are Passports for Minors?
Unlike some forms of identification, even very young children require valid passport documents when traveling out of the country. Just as with the adult version of the book and card, payment for a passport for the minors in your travel party will be in two parts. The application fee is $95, and the execution fee is $25. Again, you have the option of purchasing the two documents separately if you wish.
Renewing Your Passport
If you have been issued a passport before but are planning on traveling in the near future, you may need to renew your passport. Fortunately, this is not as difficult a process as receiving an initial passport. Under certain conditions you are able to renew your passport through the mail and make no extra trips. These conditions include:
- If you have not damaged your passport and are able to send it in along with your completed renewal application.
- Yours is an adult passport issued to you when you were 16 years or older.
- Your passport is less than 15 years old.
- The name on your passport is your current name, or you are able to submit legal documentation of your change in name (such as a marriage certificate).
If your situation matches any of the above you can simply fill out a passport renewal form and follow the instructions for sending it in and receiving your up-to-date passport. However, if none of these situations applies, such as if your passport has become damaged or it was issued when you were a minor, you will have to apply for a renewed version in person.
Rushing Your Passport
The average processing time for a newly applied-for passport is somewhere between four and six weeks. If you are planning far in advance for a trip, or just want a passport as a means of identification or for convenience, this is not much of an issue. Not everyone plans for that long, however. If you need your passport more quickly, you can opt to pay for the expedited services.
Rushing your passport will allow the entire transaction, from the time you apply to when you have your new passport, to take only two to three weeks if you choose to apply by mail and utilize overnight shipping capabilities.
If you are really taking a spur-of-the-moment trip, or merely forgot the detail of needing a passport for yourself or another member of your travel party, and must have a passport within 14 days you have the option of making an appointment directly with the Passport Agency.
In addition to the regular application fees associated with a passport, if you need your passport quickly you will incur an extra $60 fee as well as expedited shipping charges. It is important that you clearly mark your envelope “EXPEDITE” in order to ensure your rush request is noted.
Documentable “Life or Death Emergencies” may warrant special attention and allow you to receive your passport even faster. In these cases you must contact the Information Center to get instructions for contacting the proper authorities.
Though they are critical documents for anyone planning on a jaunt across the globe, the question of “how much are passports?” should not cause stress or concern. With good planning, and knowledge of the right people to contact, taking care of your documentation is just another step toward your vacation.