Clerk's Office warns of hike in passport fees

Oakland County Clerk/Register Ruth Johnson issued an alert last week to travelers that federal passport fees will be increasing by nearly 50 percent effective Tuesday, July 13.

"We just received official notice about the fee increases," Johnson said. "This is wrong. I understand that the federal government had to tighten security with increased passport requirements, but why do they have to then pile on higher fees? Families are hurting. Unemployment is rampant, especially here in Michigan. Sometimes travel is unavoidable so families will have no choice but to pay the increased fees."

Johnson urged Michigan residents who know they will be traveling this summer, fall or winter to apply for passports before the hikes become effective on July 13. Oakland County processes passports as do many post offices and some local municipalities.

Under the changes, federal passport processing fees for adults will jump from $75 to $110--a 47-percent increase. The portion that goes to Passport Acceptance Agencies, like Oakland County, will not change and remain $25. The total cost for an adult passport will be $135, not including passport photos.

Federal processing fees for passports for minors will increase from $60 to $80, a 33-percent jump. The total cost for a passport for a minor child, age 16 and younger, will be $105 not including passport photos.

Beginning in 2007, U.S. travelers were required to carry passports when they previously had not been required to re-enter the United States. New passport requirements were phased in, first for air travelers and later to those crossing U.S. borders by land and sea. Under the changes, the U.S. Department of State has since issued record numbers of passports to American citizens. In some instances, federal passport cards are also available to meet requirements.

Passport applicants must have: valid state driver's license or state ID, a certified copy of their birth certificate.

Published: Mon, Jul 5, 2010