August 10, 2018
You’ve picked your dream vacation destination and all but have your bags packed. But before you get too excited about your trip abroad, you better make sure you have the right documents. Any American who wants to travel internationally needs a passport so they can enter other countries and return to the U.S.
Unfortunately, getting this essential travel document isn’t cheap. We’ll break down all the costs associated with getting a U.S. passport, including an option that might save you money, depending on your destination.
U.S. passport fees
- If this is your first time getting a passport as an adult: $145
If this is your first time applying for a passport, get ready to fork over $110 for an application fee and an additional $35 for an “execution fee.”
- If you’re renewing your passport: $110
Adult passports are good for 10 years. If you previously had an adult passport that has expired, you’ll need to renew. The fee is $110.
- If your child needs a passport: $115
If you’re leaving the country with your child, they’ll need a passport, whatever their age. The fee is $80, plus a $35 execution fee. Passports for children under the age of 16 are only good for five years and must be renewed in person.
What if I need my passport right away?
- The fee for an expedited passport is $60
It typically takes four to six weeks for the State Department to process a new passport application or renew an existing passport. To avoid a delay, the government suggests that anyone considering international travel or who has family abroad apply for a passport well before they might need to travel.
If you can’t wait six weeks for a passport, all is not lost. You can pay an extra $60 for an expedited passport. You’ll get your passport in two to three weeks if you are applying at a passport acceptance facility or renewing by mail. You can also pay an additional $15.89 for 1-2 day delivery of your new passport.
If you can’t wait two to three weeks for your passport, you’ll need to visit a passport agency or center in person within two weeks of your planned travel. Emergency passport service is also available if you have a life-or-death emergency that requires you to travel within 72 hours.
How much do passport photos cost?
- Expect to pay $5 to $15 for your passport photo
Whether you’re applying for the first time or renewing your passport, you’ll need a passport photo. The State Department has some pretty strict guidelines on what it will accept, so you can’t just mail in any old snapshot. Instead, visit a place that specializes in passport photos.
If you’re applying in person, some passport acceptance facilities have photo service on-site. Photo studios, drugstores like CVS and Walgreens, membership stores like Sam’s Club and Costco, and AAA all typically provide passport photo services as well.
The cheaper option: Passport cards
- A new passport card only costs $65, but there are restrictions.
Depending on where you plan to travel, you might want to consider a passport card. A new adult passport card costs only $65, while a renewal is just $30. Passport cards for kids younger than 16 are $50.
A passport card sounds like a good deal, but it comes with some big restrictions. You can only use it at land and sea border crossings from the following countries:
- The Caribbean
You can’t use your passport card for international air travel, even if you’re headed to one of the countries on the above list. (It can be used as an ID for domestic air travel, though.) So, if your international travel plans involve heading to Tijuana for a day of shopping and tacos or a cruise to the Bahamas, a passport card could be a solution. But if you plan to fly to your honeymoon in Jamaica or are contemplating additional trips abroad, it makes more sense to just get a regular passport.