*The passport fees have recently changed. As of April 2nd, 2018, the passport acceptance fee has gone up from $25 to $35.


The debate over the State Department’s proposed fee hike for passport services continues, with lawmakers and State Department officials arguing back and forth about whether the new fees are justified, especially given the current state of the economy.

The LA Times notes that if the increases happen, the passport application fee will be more than double what it was in 2002.  New York Representative Chris Lee notes that the increase may not seem like that much for an individual to pay,  but would have a big impact on families, with a family of four paying around $500 just to apply for passports. The LA Times also interviewed Representative Brian Higgins, who did not mince words-he called the increase flat-out “immoral.”

In the articleBrenda Sprague, deputy assistant secretary of State for passport affairs, claims that the price hike is justified:

“We have a strong, defensible position for increasing the fees.” Costs have been rising, she said, as high-tech features make passports more expensive to produce and the department adds facilities to meet growing demand. By 2011, she said, the department expects to be operating 28 passport facilities, up from 13 just five years ago.

Other factors that were taken into account were the costs of providing services to US passport holders, including extending a helping hand to Americans who get in a jam overseas.

What do you think? Considering the services that the State Department provides passport holders, is it worth it to charge extra passport fees and to start adding charges for passport services that used to be free, like adding visa pages?

Whatever your opinion is, let us know in the comments and then go tell the US Department of State before the comment period is up on March 11th.

After the comment period ends, the new prices will probably be in place within weeks. We’ll keep an eye on the story and provide updates as it develops, but in the meantime, if you don’t want to pay the extra fees, you’d probably best go ahead and apply for passport services now.