U.S. passports are seeing a cost increase
Add yet another item to the list that Americans are seeing cost more during a year seeing high inflation rates.
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As Americans pay more for various goods and services due to the highest inflation rate in nearly 40 years, passports are now being added to the list.
Starting today, Dec. 27, the cost of U.S. passports will see a $20 increase for all customers.
The price for a first-time or replacement passport for travelers 16 and older will now be $165, a renewal will be $130, while travelers under 16 must now pay $135.
The fee to get an expedited passport weeks earlier will remain $60.
Travelers can also choose to pay an additional $17.56 for one-day or two-day delivery for the return of their completed passport.
According to the U.S. State Department, the fee increase “is necessary to ensure we continue to produce one of the most secure travel and identity documents in the world.”
On Dec. 13, President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing Americans to renew their passports online in an effort to speed up the current process and eliminate the need for physical documents and paper checks to be sent through the mail.
As a result of the pandemic, the passport system has been backlogged for months, causing long delays for travelers. The backlog caused applications to take anywhere from 8 weeks to 18 weeks in some instances.
The Transforming Federal Customer Experience and Service Delivery to Rebuild Trust in Government executive order also aims to make it easier to apply for Social Security benefits and get aid after natural disasters.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the new order is expected to take between six and 12 months to implement.
With COVID cases having seen a recent spike due to the Omicron variant, many flights were canceled ahead of the holidays.
More than 3,800 flight cancellations have occurred globally for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, according to the Flight Aware website, which tracks data and insight that inform various aviation decisions. More than 1,000 of the cancellations have been in the United States.
According to the State Department, more than 15.4 million Americans were issued passports in 2021.
With the combination of the increased cost, newer option to apply and renew online, and the uncertainty of the pandemic heading into its third year, there is no telling how many passports may be issued in 2022.