How Much Does a U.S. Passport Really Cost? The Complete Fee Breakdown


U.S. Passport

A U.S. passport is an essential document for international travel, serving as proof of identity and citizenship. Whether you’re planning a vacation abroad, visiting relatives, or conducting business overseas, having a valid passport is crucial.

Key takeaway: In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide to understanding the costs associated with obtaining or renewing a U.S. passport. This ensures that you are well-informed before starting your application process.

Passport fees can vary depending on several factors:

  • Type of Passport: Passport book vs. passport card
  • Applicant Category: First-time applicants, renewals, and children’s passports
  • Additional Services: Expedited processing, delivery options, etc.

Having clarity on these expenses will help you avoid any surprises during the application process.

For those planning to travel to specific destinations such as Kenya, Burkina Faso, or even Afghanistan for tourism purposes, it’s important to note that some countries may require additional visas alongside your passport. Understanding these requirements beforehand will help streamline your travel plans and prevent any last-minute complications.

1. Different Types of Passports and Their Respective Costs

Understanding the types of U.S. passports available is crucial to making an informed decision about which option best suits your travel needs. There are two primary types of U.S. passports: the passport book and the passport card. Each serves a unique purpose and comes with its own set of costs.

Passport Book

The passport book is the most commonly issued type of U.S. passport. It allows for international travel by air, sea, or land to any country in the world. The passport book contains multiple pages for visas and entry/exit stamps, making it ideal for frequent travelers.

  • Application Fee: $130
  • Acceptance Fee: $35 (if applying at an acceptance facility)
  • Total Cost for First-Time Applicants: $165
  • Renewal Fee: $130

Passport Card

The passport card is a more affordable alternative but comes with certain limitations. It is designed for travelers who frequently cross borders by land or sea between the United States, Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean. The passport card cannot be used for international air travel.

  • Application Fee: $30
  • Acceptance Fee: $35 (if applying at an acceptance facility)
  • Total Cost for First-Time Applicants: $65
  • Renewal Fee: $30

Cost Comparison Between Passport Book and Passport Card

When deciding between a passport book and a passport card, consider your specific travel needs:

| Type | Application Fee | Acceptance Fee | Total Cost (First-Time) | Renewal Fee |
|—————-|—————–|—————-|————————-|————-| | Passport
Book | $130 | $35 | $165 | $130 | | Passport Card | $30 | $35 | $65 | $30 |

Benefits and Limitations

Benefits of Passport Book:

  • Valid for international travel by air, sea, or land.
  • Contains multiple pages for visas and entry/exit stamps.
  • Recognized universally as a primary travel document.

Limitations of Passport Book:

  • More expensive than the passport card.
  • Larger size makes it less convenient to carry.

Benefits of Passport Card:

  • More affordable than the passport book.
  • Convenient wallet-sized format.
  • Ideal for frequent travelers to neighboring countries by land or sea.

Limitations of Passport Card:

  • Not valid for international air travel.
  • Limited to specific regions (U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, Caribbean).

For those planning extensive international travels beyond neighboring countries, the passport book is indispensable despite its higher cost. In contrast, if your travels are primarily confined to North America or nearby regions by land or sea, the more economical passport card might suffice.

Ensuring you choose the right type based on your travel habits can save you money while meeting all your travel documentation needs.

If you are planning to visit countries like Israel or Cameroon along with the United States, it’s important to note that these destinations may require additional [tourist visas](

2. Breakdown of Fees for Different Applicant Categories

2.1 First-Time Adult Applicants

First-time adult applicants, those aged 16 and older, need to be well-prepared for the costs associated with obtaining a U.S. passport. The fees are divided into two main categories: the application fee and the acceptance fee.

Application Fee

  • Passport Book: $130
  • Passport Card: $30
  • Both Passport Book and Card: $160

Acceptance Fee

  • If you are submitting your application at an acceptance facility, an additional fee of $35 is required.

Specifically, if you choose to apply for a passport book, which allows international travel by air, sea, or land, the total cost would be $165 ($130 application fee + $35 acceptance fee). If you opt for just a passport card, valid only for land and sea travel between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Bermuda, and the Caribbean, your total expense would be $65 ($30 application fee + $35 acceptance fee). For both documents, the combined cost amounts to $195.

These fees can vary based on where you apply and any additional services you might require. It’s crucial to factor in these expenses early in your planning process to avoid any financial surprises during your application.

For detailed information about other visa requirements that might be relevant during international travel planning:

Understanding these costs and requirements ensures that you’re financially prepared when embarking on your journey to obtain a U.S. passport.

2.2 Adult Passport Renewals

Renewing an adult passport comes with its own set of fees and processes, distinct from first-time applications. Here’s what you need to know:

Fees for Adult Passport Renewals

  • Application fee: $130 for a passport book, $30 for a passport card, or $160 for both documents.
  • Acceptance fee: Unlike first-time applicants, those renewing their passports typically do not need to pay an acceptance fee if they are mailing in their renewal form directly to the U.S. Department of State. This can save you the $35 acceptance fee usually required for in-person submissions at an acceptance facility.

Why Renewing Your Passport Early Matters

For business travelers frequently visiting countries like Argentina or Taiwan, renewing your passport well ahead of any planned travel is advisable to avoid last-minute complications.

Additional Costs to Consider

Although the base fees are straightforward, additional costs can arise if you opt for expedited services or special delivery options. Ensure to factor these potential expenses into your budget when planning your passport renewal.

2.3 Children’s Passports

When applying for a passport for children under 16 years old, the fees and requirements differ slightly from those for adults. Understanding these nuances ensures that you are well-prepared for the application process.

Application Fees for Children Under 16:

  • Passport Book: $100
  • Passport Card: $15
  • Both Documents: $115

In addition to the application fee, there is an acceptance fee of $35 for each application submitted at an acceptance facility.

Specific Requirements:

  • Parental Consent: Both parents or guardians must consent to the issuance of a passport for a minor.
  • Proof of Relationship: You need to provide documentation such as a birth certificate or adoption decree to demonstrate your relationship to the child.
  • Child’s Identification: A valid form of ID for the child, like a birth certificate, is required.
  • Parental Identification: Parents must present their own valid identification documents.

For more detailed guidance or special visa inquiries, you might find resources like a Cambodia Tourist Visa, a Burkina Faso Business Visa, and a Saudi Arabia Business Visa helpful.

3. Understanding Additional Services and Optional Fees

When applying for a U.S. passport, it’s important to be aware of certain services and fees that can significantly impact the total cost of your application. These additional services and optional fees are designed to cater to specific needs and timelines.

Expedited Processing

If you require your passport urgently, you have the option to choose expedited processing. This service reduces the standard processing time, ensuring that you receive your passport in a shorter period. However, it’s worth noting that expedited processing comes with an additional fee of $60 on top of the regular application fees.

Expedited processing can be especially beneficial in the following scenarios:

  • You have imminent travel plans.
  • Unforeseen circumstances necessitate obtaining your passport quickly.

Other Optional Services with Relevant Fees

Apart from expedited processing, there are several other optional services available for an extra fee:

  • Passport Photos: Many acceptance facilities offer photo services for convenience. The cost typically ranges from $10 to $15 for a set of passport photos.
  • Overnight Delivery: To ensure prompt receipt of your processed passport, you can opt for overnight delivery at a fee of $18.32.
  • File Search Fee: If you’ve lost your passport or need to confirm information from previous applications, a file search service is available at a cost of $150.
  • 1-2 Day Delivery: For those who require even quicker delivery than standard overnight, some acceptance facilities may offer 1-2 day delivery options.

It’s essential to consider these optional services based on your specific needs and requirements:

  • Passport Photos: If you lack access to a facility that can take passport photos or if it’s more convenient for you to have them taken at the acceptance facility.
  • Overnight Delivery: If you desire the peace of mind that comes with knowing your passport will be delivered to you as quickly as possible once it’s ready.
  • File Search Fee: If you’ve lost your passport or need to verify information from previous applications, this service can expedite the process.
  • 1-2 Day Delivery: If you require your passport urgently and standard overnight delivery is not fast enough.

Considering these optional services can help tailor the application process to your specific needs, ensuring that you have all necessary documents and meet any urgent timelines.


Each service adds value depending on individual requirements and urgency, making it crucial to evaluate these options carefully before finalizing your application.

Understanding these additional costs can aid in comprehensive travel planning, especially for those traveling to destinations like the Philippines, Albania, or Kenya (for business visa purposes). This knowledge ensures there are no last-minute surprises when embarking on your journey.

4. Payment Methods and How to Calculate Your Total Passport Fees

Accepted Payment Methods for U.S. Passport Fees

When applying for a U.S. passport, you have several payment methods available:

  • Checks and Money Orders: Payable to “U.S. Department of State.”
  • Credit Cards and Debit Cards: Often accepted at passport acceptance facilities.
  • Digital Wallet Payments: Some locations may accept payments through services like Apple Pay or Google Pay.
  • Cash: Only at designated acceptance facilities.

Each method has its considerations. For instance, checks and money orders must be filled out correctly to avoid processing delays. Credit cards offer convenience but may incur processing fees depending on the facility.

Using the Fee Calculator Tool

To estimate the exact amount you need to pay for your passport application, use the Fee Calculator Tool provided by the U.S. Department of State’s website. This tool simplifies the process by considering various factors such as:

  • Type of passport (book, card, or both)
  • Applicant’s age
  • Additional services (e.g., expedited processing)

Step-by-Step Guide on Using the Fee Calculator Tool

  • Access the Tool: Go to the U.S. Department of State’s Fee Calculator.
  • Select Your Passport Type: Choose whether you’re applying for a passport book, card, or both.
  • Specify Applicant Category: Select if you’re a first-time applicant, renewing an adult passport, or applying for a child’s passport.
  • Add Optional Services: Include any additional services such as expedited processing or overnight delivery.
  • Review Your Total Fees: The calculator will provide a detailed breakdown of all applicable fees.
  • Prepare Payment: Based on your total fees, prepare your payment using one of the accepted methods listed above.

By following these steps, you can ensure an accurate fee determination process and avoid unexpected costs during your application. For more specific details on visa requirements for different countries, check out resources like Turkey Visa Information or Russia Business Visa Information.


Understanding the true expenses involved in obtaining or renewing a U.S. passport is crucial for planning ahead and avoiding unexpected costs. By having clarity on the various fees associated with the application process, you can ensure a smoother experience.

To get an accurate estimate of your total passport fees, using the Fee Calculator Tool provided by the U.S. Department of State’s website is highly recommended. This tool allows you to input specific details about your application, such as age and type of passport, to calculate exact costs.

Whether you’re applying for your first passport or renewing an existing one, being informed about the costs will empower you to make better financial decisions during the application process.

For those planning international travel to destinations like Indonesia or Bolivia, understanding these costs upfront can save time and avoid financial surprises. Always ensure you are well-prepared by knowing all potential expenses involved in securing your U.S. passport.

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