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Applying for a Passport? Here’s Why You Might Want to Do It Before April 2

Two American passports with visa or tourist cards tucked inside all stamped and ready to go
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Planning a big ol’ international (or maybe even domestic) trip this year?

Then you’re going to want to stop dragging your feet on the passport application thing, because the process is about to get a little bit pricier.

Thanks a lot, passport fees.

In a statement published to the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of State announced it will be raising the “execution fee” on certain passport applications from $25 to $35 on April 2.

The execution fee is a handling fee charged to all first-time passport book or card applicants over 16 years of age, all child applicants under 16 and any applicants who are reapplying after reporting a previous passport as lost or stolen.

Actual passport book or card prices won’t change. To understand what fees you may encounter during your passport application process, you can use the U.S. Department of State’s fee calculator here.

The Department explains it is adjusting its current fee schedule to better align with the updated costs for providing consular services. (Meaning: Someone has to do the work of processing your paperwork and that person has to be paid.)

The last time the fee schedule was adjusted in 2008, the Department lowered the execution fee from $30 down to $25, where it has stayed for the last 10 years.

Back in September of 2016, the Department gave notice of the proposed rule change, and opened a 60-day comment period. Several commenters expressed that a $10 increase would not inhibit business or personal travel — but a couple of commenters disagreed, saying the $10 increase could “be a burden” to some travelers.

The Department responded by saying that while it is “sympathetic to the impact” the fee increase may have, it’s a necessary move at this point.

And let’s be really real for a second: If $10 means the difference between being able to take an international trip or not, travelers should take a look at their vacation budgets — or consider an alternative, affordable way to get a passport.

But if you are planning to apply for a passport this year, it wouldn’t hurt to get your application in before the planned April 2 price hike.

Keeping an extra $10 in your pocket never hurts, right?

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

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