By Joan Koczor
U.S. passport fees are going up $10, effective April 2. Adult passport books will be $145, children 16 and younger $115.
The less expensive passport cards, which are good for border crossings and travel by sea to Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean but are not valid for international air travel, will increase to $65 for adults and $50 for children.
The price hike is due to an increase in the passport acceptance, or “execution,” fee. The U.S. State Department says it is increasing the passport acceptance fee from $25 to $35 to better cover the costs of processing passport applications.
The $10 increase does not apply to passport renewals by mail. Application fees, the biggest part of the cost of a passport, are not increasing.
This year, travelers from some states may need a passport card and not just a boarding pass and driver’s license to get through domestic airport security. While Arizona is already compliant with the REAL ID Act, which went into effect in January, other states received an extension to become compliant.
Ohio, for instance, is scheduled to become compliant in July, and Michigan will be compliant in October. Until then, travelers from those and other non-compliant states may need to show TSA agents a passport card.
REAL ID established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses (and ID cards) and prohibits the Transportation Security Administration from accepting cards that don’t meet the standards.
Passport cards were largely designed to be a smaller, less expensive alternative to a traditional passport book. It serves the same purpose as a regular passport book in that it allows you to prove both your U.S. citizenship and your identity while you’re traveling around the world. Instead of being a large book such as a passport book, a passport card is similar in size to a traditional credit card.
It also contains a radio frequency identification chip, also commonly referred to as RFID, as a security measure to help protect against identity theft.
Joan Koczor is a senior advocate and a member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Board.
This column appears in the April issue of InMaricopa.