Higgins & Hochul Call for Stop to Proposed Passport Fee Increase
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) and Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul are opposing a plan proposed by the U.S. Department of State to increase Passport fees. The Department has filed a notice, in the Federal Register, of intent to raise a number of fees, a move that would increase the cost of a passport book from $100 to $135 for adults.
“We need to literally and figuratively build bridges that encourage cross border tourism, commerce and economic opportunity and this move would do just the opposite,” said Congressman Higgins. “While this fee increase might provide the government with an upfront economic increase, they are missing the big picture here. Creating financial barriers to the international traffic flow will cost our national economy and this community greatly in the long run.”
"Since the more stringent border-crossing requirements went into effect, the Clerk's office has been aggressively promoting new passports and enhanced licenses to Erie County residents. A fee hike, especially now, will deter people from obtaining passports, a result we've been working to avoid for the past two years. To spur sales, the price should actually be reduced, not increased,"said Hochul.
Congressman Higgins and fellow WNY Congressman Chris Lee are cosponsors of the Passport Fee Relief Act (H.R. 1733), a bill that would provide a refundable tax credit for the cost of passports and other enhanced identification documents required to comply with the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI).
County Clerk Hochul’s office is available to process passport applications for Erie County residents. Passports processed through the Clerk’s office, rather than U.S. Mail, allows a portion of the revenue to stay in the local community. Hochul has been successful in saving taxpayer dollars by increasing department revenue through her popular “Passports on the Move” program, which brings the passport application process to businesses and organizations throughout the county.
The proposed schedule of fees for passport application services is as follows:
- $135 for a first-time U.S. Passport Book for adults (age 16 and over) currently $100
- $110 for U.S. Passport Book renewal (age 16 and over only) currently $75
- $105 for a U.S. Passport Book for minors (under age 16) currently $85
- $55 for a first-time U.S. Passport Card for adults (age 16 and over) currently $45
- $30 for a U.S. Passport Card for adults (age 16 and over) who currently hold a fully valid U.S. Passport currently $20
- $40 for a U.S. Passport Card for minors (under age 16) currently $35
- $82 for additional visa pages currently free
- The fee for expedited service will remain $60.
Congressman Higgins and County Clerk Hochul are encouraging Western New Yorkers to weigh in and voice their opposition to the fee increase. The public has until March 11 to comment on the increase. Comment can be submitted via:
- U.S. Mail to:
Office of Executive Director,
Bureau of Consular Affairs,
2401 E Street, NW, Suite H1001,
Washington, DC 20520
- email: email@example.com with the RIN (1400-AC58) in the subject line;
- or online at https://www.regulations.gov/index.cfm.