Hike in US Passport Fees

Applying for or renewing a US passport? You have three weeks to beat a sharp hike in fees. Renouncing citizenship soon will no longer be free.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 10:00

US passport
US passport
Israel news photo

The United States plans to raise passport and consular fees by up to 100 percent effective March 12 if last-minute protests do not succeed in forestalling the move. The 30-day period for registering objections has expired, and officials are reviewing the proposed new fees schedule, the American embassy in Israel told Israel National News.

Extending current passports will cost $110, nearly 50 percent more than the present fee of $75, according to the Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel (AACI). The cost of a new first-time passport will rise from $100 to $135, for a child under 16 from $85 to $100, and passport book security surcharges will double to $40. Application fees for a consular report of a birth in Israel or elsewhere outside of the United States will increase from $65 to $100.

Fees for notary and authentication services will increase 100 percent to $50. Renouncing American citizenship, which now is processed without charge, soon will cost $450, according to the proposed schedule of costs.

Many American immigrants to Israel have angrily protested the new proposed fee schedules in Internet and e-mail forums, but the State Department said the increases were suggested following a comprehensive cost of service study.

“As demand for passports increased to an average of 15 million per year, the increase in certain fees will help cover actual operating expenses for the Department of State’s 301 consular posts abroad, 23 domestic passport agencies, and other centers that provide consular services to both U.S. and foreign citizens,” according to federal officials.They added that improvements in automated systems have decreased some fees, such as the application fee for determining returning resident status.