Passport fees set to rise by up to 27% in March
British holidaymakers will need to pay more to apply for and renew their standard passports in March, netting Her Majesty’s Passport Office an additional £50m in the 2018/19 tax year.
The Home Office has proposed to raise the fees for passport applications by varying amounts depending on whether it’s done online or via the postal service.
Many countries require at least six months’ validity on passports. Currently, a standard 32-page adult passport renewal costs £72.50. For a slightly bigger passport with 34-pages, this will rise to £75.50 (4% increase) for online applications and to £85 (17% increase) for postal applications.
For children, the price hikes are more pronounced. A child’s passport currently costs £46 but this could rise to £49 (6.5% increase) for online applications and to £58.50 (27% increase) for postal applications.
The Home Office said the online fees “will rise in line with inflation”, but for both adults and children, it is set to rise by more.
It explained the move is part of its push to increase the use of online services in a bid to “create a self-sustainable immigration and borders system”.
Currently, all taxpayers help fund the cost of processing British passport holders as they travel in and out of the country, and money is also diverted to consular support provided to British nationals abroad.
The Home Office wants to shift the burden for paying for these services away from the taxpayer so people who don’t travel abroad are not footing the bill for those who do.
The proposal is subject to Parliamentary approval but it is expected to come into force on 27 March 2018. While the Home Office expects an initial outlay of costs to stand at £100,000 for a system change and £2.5m for measures to cope with demand, it calculates HM Passport Office will net an additional £50m in the 2018/19 tax year.
Last year, a record 46.2 million passengers used the ePassport gates while 250 million people travelled across the UK border.
Post Office check and send service and passports in a hurry
For those using the Post Office’s check and send service, including the fee for the actual passport, the price stands at £82.25. This means the actual Post Office service costs £9.75 while £72.50 is for the application cost itself.
The Post Office confirms there’s no change in this part of its fee. It will continue to charge £9.75 for the service, even when the passport costs increase. This means postal applicants via the Post Office check and send service will pay a total of £94.75.
Currently the fast track one-week service costs £103 for adults while the premium one-day passport service costs £128 (both prices for the standard 32-page passport). However, in March the fast-track one-week service (applications made in person) will rise to £142 for adults while the fast-track collect service will cost £164.50.
The premium one-day service will rise to £177.
Immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, said: “The passport is an invaluable document that allows millions of British people to travel around the world for business and pleasure.
“Our priority is to ensure that UK travellers have a secure, effective, and efficient service from the point of application to the time they pass through the UK border and it is only right that we should look at this whole process when setting our fees.
“These proposals will ensure that those people who don’t travel abroad are not footing the bill for those who do.”
The proposals are unrelated to the announcement that the colour of the UK passport will be changing in 2019, which will be delivered at no additional cost.