*The passport fees have recently changed. As of April 2nd, 2018, the passport acceptance fee has gone up from $25 to $35.
Two travel industry groups, the ASTA and the Interactive Travel Services Association, are urging the US Department of State to reconsider their plans to institute new, higher passport fees. The plans, which were announced last month by the Department of State, would increase passport fees for new passports and for replacing lost or stolen passports from from $100 to $135. Fees for passport renewals would go up from $75 to $110.
In addition to increasing fees for getting or renewing a passport, the proposal would also tack on additional $82 fee for adding visa pages to an existing passport, a service that the Department of State currently performs free of charge.
In the statement submitted to the Department of State, the ASTA and ITSA made the following comments:
“While the economy is beginning to show signs of life, it is early days and we have a long way to go before travel returns to anything resembling sustainable growth. This is, therefore, an especially poor time to increase the cost of travel.”
“Respectfully, it is definitely not the time to impose outsized increases in the fee burden for new and repeat travelers which are the groups most affected by the proposed fee increases… Increases of the amounts proposed will place the government at cross-purposes with itself, working, on the one hand, to stimulate business and support the special needs of small businesses for capital and cash flow and, on the other hand, de-stimulating travel by adding costs to the essential instruments of international movement.”
While you might think that foreign tourist establishments are the group that will be most likely to take a hit once passport fees increase, ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo also noted that in reality, U.S.-owned airlines, tour operators, hotel chains and car rental are all harmed by a decline in the number of US citizens traveling internationally.
So, will the ASTA/ISHTA’s entreaties be enough to keep passport fees from going up? At this point, it’s too early to tell. If you need a new passport or your existing passport needs to be renewed, best do it now, before the price goes up.
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