July 15 2010 by Chris McGinnis
If you've got international travel in your plans--or if your passport is about to expire--here's a way to save a few bucks, but you've got to act fast.
NEW PASSPORTS: On July 13, the U.S. Department of State will raise the fee for a new passport to $135 from the current $100. You can apply for a passport at many post offices, clerks of court, public libraries and other state, county, township and municipal government offices. Here's how to find the office closest to you.
RENEWALS: The fee for passport renewals will rise to $110 from the current $75 on July 13. (Have you checked the expiration date on your passport lately?) If your most recent passport is undamaged, it's probably easiest to renew it by mail.
RECENT CHANGES: Over the last few years, the U.S. government has been implementing the new "Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative" which is changing documentation requirements for U.S. citizens. Here's what's new:
- First, you must now carry a valid U.S. passport when returning BY AIR to the U.S. from ANY international location--including Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
- U.S. citizens returning to the U.S. by sea (cruise ship, ferry, etc) or by land (car, bus, train, etc.) must now carry a U.S. passport OR a less expensive, but more limited Passport "Card."