Passport Fees and the Value of U.S. Citizenship

Most people are used of the process of inflation pushing consumer prices up, but do people expect the price of US citizenship to go up? New fees posted recently by State Department do just that. The State Department has announced new consular fees through the Federal Register, including fee changes proposed as far back as 2010. Under the new fees, the cost of formally renouncing US citizenship will now cost $450. Previously, the processing of the request cost nothing. The State Department has not said why it changed the fees or why the cost has increased so dramatically.

The process of formally renouncing US citizenship includes taking an oath of renunciation. In many cases, those who choose this process do so because they adopting citizenship in a country which does not permit dual citizenship. The cost of getting citizenship is still nothing for those who have citizenship through birthright. US citizens who become naturalized citizens can spend hundreds of dollars securing a green card and then a naturalization application.

Other citizenship-related costs are also on the increase, according to the new fee schedule posted through the Federal Register. The cost of applying for a new passport has risen from $55 to $70, a 27% jump. The security surcharge for US passports is doubling, to $40 from $20. In addition, the cost of adding new pages to a US passport book will now be $82. Previously, the State Department did not charge anything for this service. However, the State Department says that this new fee is needed because the cost of labor to affix the pages, to endorse the passport, to print the pages, to process the application, and to perform a final quality-control check has increased and needs to be offset.

According to the changes posted in the Federal Register, other citizenship-related fee changes include changes to the fees associated with registering the birth of an American child overseas. Whereas reporting such a birth cost $65 before, it now costs $100 to report the birth of an American child overseas. As well, the costs of notarizing documents at US embassies has jumped. Previously, notarizing a single page at a US embassy abroad cost $30. Now, according to the Federal Register, the same service costs $50 per single page.

The privileges and benefits of US citizenship are permanent and priceless, but the new fee schedule puts some definitive – and higher – costs on many citizenship-related services.