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Thursday, April 17, 2008
Saving on Passport Cost - Part II: Passport application and mailing fees
My spouse sometimes has to travel abroad and at times, we tag with him. So for us, it's kind of necessary to have a valid passport at all times. That's why, when both my kids were born, as soon as we got a chance, we applied for their passports. As mentioned in my previous post, in each case, we had their passport-pics taken at home, costing us under 20 cents for 6 passport-sized pics for each kid.

We submitted the applications at the local post office. The postman told us that we can get the passport quickly by using the expedited processing service and also by using Express Mail. Additional cost for the expedited processing service? $60! For me, $60 is a steep price to pay for something when it could easily be avoided. The whole reason we applied for passport quickly was so that even if took long time to process, we would still receive it in time before our next travel. So we simply used the normal processing service and paid about $87 for the new passports for each of my kids (the fees may have gone up now), while the renewal passport fee was $75. We also submitted the application via regular mail and it cost about $0.58 for the postage stamp, versus over $10 it would have cost us for using Express Mail. (Of course, we also ignored the usual spiel of postman to buy teddy bears, postcards, etc.)

We had applied for the passport for my first child at the time when the passport agency was inundated with applications from people going to Canada who now had to show passports to go there. However, despite the agency's heavy workload, we received the passport within 3 months which is what the post office had mentioned.

In short, we were able to save on our passport-related costs by:

- taking passport pics at home ourselves instead of going to Costco or other stores.
- submitting the passport applications in a timely manner so that we don't have to pay extra for the rush fee.

For Part I of this post, see:

Saving on Passport Cost - Part I: Passport photos on the cheap


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