*The passport fees have recently changed. As of April 2nd, 2018, the passport acceptance fee has gone up from $25 to $35.
Getting a passport has never been more essential for anyone who wants to travel outside of the US. Laws that became effective over the past few years have made passports necessary where they weren’t before, including many trips to Mexico and Canada. Unfortunately, passport application fees have also never been more expensive. Last July, passport prices increased and fees were added for formerly free services like adding passport pages.
Now, two New York congressional representatives, concerned that more stringent passport requirements and higher costs could keep their constituents from being able to cross over freely into Canada, have introduced a bill to help ease the burden of getting a passport.
Representatives Brian Higgins and Kathy Hochul are co-sponsoring two bills which, if passed, would reimburse you for most of the cost of getting a passport and would also restrict what the government can charge for them.
According to YNN.com, the Passport Fee Relief Act would allow passport holders to claim a tax credit equal to the cost of the passport application fee after applying for a new passport or a passport renewal. The second bill, the Passport Acquisition Savings and Security (PASS) Act, would ensure that passport application fees are limited to what it actually costs the government to issue your passport.
The passport application fee varies depending on whether you’re applying for an adult passport, a child passport or a passport card. For example, an adult applying for a passport book and a passport card would pay an application fee of $140. If you are applying in person, there is also a $25 execution fee that goes to the office that takes your application. Under Higgins’ and Hochul’s proposal, this fee would not be reimbursable.
Representative Hochul told WKBW.com that she was inspired to co-sponsor the bill based on her time as a county clerk:
“As a former Erie County Clerk I am very aware of the high costs associated with obtaining passports. I helped process thousands of passports that cost Western New Yorkers upwards of $100 each. These prices are far too high for residents who travel across the border day after day for work and pleasure. We need to save Western New Yorkers every penny we can and these two bills will help bear much of the costs associated with obtaining a passport.”
What do you think of these bills? If they passed, would you be more likely to submit a passport application and get a passport?