Passport Fees Increased on July 13, 2010
If you haven’t gone to get your U.S. Passport yet, you may be in for a surprise as the fees for getting the document increased this week by $35.00. As a general rule, all U.S. citizens wanting to travel outside the country by air need a passport.
You can apply for a passport at the post office. There is a $25 processing fee plus a $110 application fee. There is an additional charge for photos, but you can get those taken at other places and bring them to the post office if you like. The fees are slightly lower for children under 16. It usually takes 6-8 weeks to receive, so if you have a date booked for travel before that time, there is another fee for expediting your passport.
If you are taking a cruise out of Jacksonville to the Bahamas, you may not necessarily need a passport yet. The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, fully implemented on June 1, 2009, allows that U.S. citizens on closed-loop cruises (cruises that begin and end at the same port in the U.S.) will be able to enter or depart the country with proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. A U.S. citizen under the age of 16 will be able to present either an original or certified copy of his or her birth certificate.
A valid passport is required for air travel and cruise lines are highly recommending that guests travel with a passport in case of an emergency such as missing the boat, or a medical emergency that involves a flight home. There could be significant delays and complications upon entering the United States if you do not have a passport.
A less expensive alternative is available in the form of a passport card. It is $55 for the card, and it is only good for travel from the U.S. to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda at border crossings or sea ports-of-entry. It cannot be used for international air travel.
For more information on applying for a passport, including which documents are required, please visit www.travel.state.gov.