The price of a British passport is to rise by £12.50 from 27 March for those applying by post.
Currently, an adult’s passport costs £72.50 regardless of how you apply for it but under government plans this would rise by 17% up to £85.
The cost of online applications will also go up – but only by £3 to £75.50.
Children’s passport applications will also increase by £12.50 (27%) from £46 to £58.50 for anyone under the age of 16, but will be £49 online.
It will be the first time ordering a passport by post will cost more than doing so online.
Despite the price hike, the government maintains it will still cost less than it would have nine years ago due to fees being reduced in 2012.
A chance to save £12.50?
- You can renew your passport at any time
- Any time left on your old passport will be transferred to your new one up to a maximum of nine months
- So if your passport runs out before 27 December, you might want to consider getting it renewed in the next eight weeks at the cheaper rate
- But do not do so if you have any imminent travel plans, as it currently takes about three weeks for a new passport to arrive
- The HM Passport Office has said it plans to draft in up to 200 extra staff to cope with extra demand in the run-up to the price increase
While the changes are subject to parliamentary approval, the increases mean a family of four – two adults and two children – who apply by post will need to spend £287.
Prices for adult passports on the fast-track service will rise from £103 to £142, and from £128 to £177 under the premium service.
The Home Office said: “These reforms are part of plans by the Home Office to invest £100m on border security and infrastructure next year.”
It aims to “create a self-sustainable immigration and borders system”.
Postal vs online costs
The Home Office justified the higher postal charges, saying they reflected the “increased costs of processing postal applications compared to online applications”.
It said the reforms would shift the financial burden of providing passports on to users of the service instead of taxpayers – “millions of whom do not currently hold passports”.
It added that the proposals are unrelated to the reintroduction of blue passports, which will not create an extra cost.
The proposed increased fees could mean the government makes an extra £50m in the next financial year.