British passport renewal cost set to hike

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LONDON: Britons will have to pay more for their passports come March as the government hikes fees in a bid to encourage more people to apply online. An adult’s passport currently costs £72.50, regardless of how the application is made. The price for postal applications is set to increase to £85 for adults. The cost of online applications will only go up by £3 to £75.50.
Parents are facing a 27% hike in processing fees for their children’s travel documents. Children’s passport applications will increase by £12.50 from £46 to £58.50 for anyone under the age of 16. Online applications will rise to £49. If approved by Parliament, the new fees will come into force on March 27 this year. The Home Office said that rising the cost of processing fees will put less of a burden on the taxpayer.
The government also said that the new fees are part of an effort to encourage people to use online services. The government said in a statement: “The proposals, which remain subject to Parliamentary approval, would mean the money collected through fees will contribute to the cost of processing British passport holders as they travel in and out of the country, shifting the burden for paying for these services away from the taxpayer – millions of whom do not currently hold passports.
“These reforms are part of plans by the Home Office to invest £100 million on border security and infrastructure next year.” Immigration minister Caroline Nokes added: “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 government said that adults choosing to apply online will be paying less than they would have in 2009, as passport fees decreased in 2012. The proposals are not related to the announcement that the colour of the UK passport will be changing next year, which the government says will be delivered at no additional cost.