Passports are Expensive. Here are 4 Affordable Ways to Get One

Passports were something just jet-setters needed when traveling abroad. Thanks to a new law set to take effect in 2018, many U.S. citizens might need a passport even if they don’t intend to leave American soil.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is going to make it even harder to get through security checkpoints across the country.

Some states are ready to start enforcing the new policy right away, while others are granted an extension to get additional time to prepare.

Stop by that the Department of Homeland Security website to find out the status of your nation and what documentation you’ll want to travel by air.

Even if your condition does not currently require additional documentation, it is nonetheless a great idea to receive your passport paperwork so now.

As stated by the Department of Homeland Security, “Starting October 1, 2020, every air traveler will require an authentic ID-compliant license, or another suitable form of identification, for domestic air travel.”

In an attempt to crack down on fake IDs, Congress enacted a law requiring national travelers to produce a supplemental form of identification apart from a driver’s license or state-issued ID card.

It might look like this new regulation came from nowhere, but Congress actually passed the REAL ID act in 2005. Oh, wheels of government. Why you gotta turn so slow?

Anyway, what this means for you is if you do not have a formal second kind of identification (say, a military ID), then you will need to get one sometime in the next few weeks. Your best choice is likely to apply for a passport.

How Much Does a Passport Cost?

Passport prices for first-time adult applicants are not affordable.

The execution fee (that is a really aggressive method to state “processing fee”) will run you another $25.

Renewals are not a great deal more affordable. You save $25 on the implementation fee, but the program fee stays the same.

That breaks down to a little over $13 a year, not too bad for something which gives you access to the majority of the planet.

Are You Really Exempt From Passport Fees?

There are very few scenarios that may exempt you in passport fees.

Should you fall into one of those categories chances are you’re already aware of it, however just in case, let us recap.

The State Department will waive passport fees if you are:

Traveling on official U.S. government business

A U.S. Navy, Coast Guard, or other officially designated Sailor from the Armed Forces

An immediate family member of a deceased military service member seeking travel to an overseas funeral

Everybody else that the State Department decides ought to have a free passport

What if you can not afford a Passport?

If a passport renewal or application is out of your budget’s reach, you’ve got a few options to research.

1. Think about a passport card.

Unless you are jet-setting to all corners of the Earth, you could be able to get by using a passport card instead of a traditional passport book.

Cards are just as official as novels, but the $30 application fee makes it a much cheaper option.

One thing to notice. Passport cards can be used at all these locations:

Mexico
Canada
Bermuda
The Caribbean

2. Ask your boss.

Should you travel overseas for work, speak to your employer about paying to get your passport and program fees.

3. Assess into advocacy and civic classes.

Thanks to a grassroots motion on Twitter, transgender citizens may ask nonprofit organization Trans Law Assist for assistance with paying bankruptcy penalties.

The team has accumulated thousands of dollars in contributions to help transgender taxpayers defray the price of upgrading a passport after a legal name change.

Consider what formal or informal groups you’re a part of that you could tap into for assistance. Churches, cultural communities, and veterans organizations locally may be a source for help paying your passport fees.

4. See if your school offers scholarships.

Some colleges also assist with passport fees. Temple University’s scholarship program provides first-year and move students up to $135 to help offset the expense of applying for a passport.

Be certain to check into whether your college offers a similar app.


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