Recently, the Bureau of Consular Affairs, part of the U.S. State Department, made two announcements regarding passports. The first update impacts those who want to get a passport for the first time or renew an existing one. The second update affects travelers with expired passports. So, please read this if you are in either category. And going forward, we will provide other United States passport updates as they become available.
Turn on the news or search the Internet and you will undoubtedly come across a story about the rise of inflation. Well, the price of passports has not escaped the wave of inflation. As of December 27, 2021, the prices of passports went up by $20 for all categories. Accordingly, the new fees are as follows:
- Travelers under 16 – $135
- Adults – new passport – $165
- Adults – passport renewal – $130
In a tweet by @TravelGov, the cost justification was stated as:
On Dec 27, the cost for a passport book will increase by $20. The increased fee is necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world.
So, plan accordingly for both the increased costs and application time. The State Department estimates the time to process passport applications to be 8 to 11 weeks. You do have the option of paying an additional $60 to expediate your application.
In relation to passport processing delays, the State Department also announced that some citizens can return to the U.S. with expired passports. With the pandemic, there is an obvious backlog of applications waiting for processing. This is the unofficial reason that for the expiration exemption. However, before assuming you can return to the United States with an expired passport, make sure you fit the necessary conditions.
- Only applies to American citizens who are returning to the United States from abroad whose passports expired after January 1, 2020. In other words, expired passports will not be accepted when traveling from the U.S. to another destination.
- The expired must be an original 10-year passport. However, there is an exception for people under the age of 15 at the passport issuance. Why? because those are five-year passports.
- All passports must be unaltered and in the owner’s possession.
If you meet these conditions, you can come back to the United States. But note, this exemption will expire at the end of March 2022.
Please let me know if you have any questions about these United States passport updates, or other immigration law concerns. I am happy to speak with you.