Passports are a necessity in today’s global world, and so are the fees someone has to pay for a travel document. In the best case, you pay this fee only every ten years, as this is the maximum validity of a modern standard passport today. However, countries are still issuing booklets for much less than ten years.
Passport fees should be related to the average income of its citizens, and usually, passport offices charge between 2% to 4% for a passport compared to the average income. A few countries only charge 1%. But others also go up to 7-8% or more.
There is an extreme case in Africa where the figure goes up to 40%! I’m German, and our average income is €3230. Imagine if we had to pay €1290 for a passport! But that’s the case in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a passport costs you the equivalent of $185 at an average income of $460. Two readers of my website even commented that a DRC passport is now at $250, which would make the Congolese passport one of the most expensive in the world. Global Passport Fees 2022
Rather expensive passports are those from Lebanon ($330), Australia ($230), and Venezuela ($200). Argentina, Vietnam ($10), Belarus ($12), China ($18), India ($23), Hong Kong ($32), and Thailand ($33) charge citizens the lowest fees. Bulgaria has the cheapest costs within the European Union at only $22.
Passports are big business. The global e-passport market will be valued at USD 21 billion in 2020. The forecast period of 2022-2027 is expected to reach a value of approximately USD 74 billion by 2026. The International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Doc 9303 also recommends a new passport design to maintain document security and integrity every few years. Below are the International Air Transport Association (IATA) trends from 2019-to 2040. Global Passport Fees 2022
People need passports, but at what costs? Should a passport office profit, and should your embassy charge you a higher fee when you are not in your home country?
If the fees of a passport are within the earlier mentioned range of 1% to 4%, then it’s fine with me. How does a passport office justify higher costs? Did they negotiate just a bad purchasing contract? Governments like to brag about having the “most advanced” and “most secure” travel document every time a passport is updated (which is always good timing to increase the fees).Global Passport Fees 2022
For example, several countries (Germany, for example) managed to keep the exact costs for a new passport even though the more recent version was significantly updated with state-of-the-art technology and security. I guess passport pricing is also a political issue. Global Passport Fees 2022
Why countries charge significantly more for a passport at their embassies or consulates is a riddle for me. While German embassies charge up to €141 compared to €60 at home, the United States’ passports cost the same worldwide as at home – $130.
As a reader wrote to me, obtaining a Cuban passport abroad, e.g., in the USA, is extremely expensive. “The Cuban passport is valid for six years, its the price is over $450 now, and every two years, we have to pay an extra entry extension of over $200. This makes the Cuban passport most likely the most expensive consular passport! Which adds up to around $900 in 6 years.”
The same seems true for the Syrian passport, which is just $12 at home but more than $300 abroad.
Citizen services should not profit, but they should cover their costs, of course. Citizen service is a state obligation without extorting its citizens. By the way, China lowered its passport fees significantly in mid-2019, and the Chinese passport is now one the cheapest travel document in the world at only $18!
Update: The new iconic Belgian passport with a homage to the comic culture (so cool!) remains at the same price. The same is valid for the latest updated Singapore passport.
More than 150 out of 196 countries use ePassports
All data are in $USD and for a standard adult passport. Fees can be significantly higher abroad at consulates/embassies!
The passport fees worldwide are based initially on an old British Passport Office list. It is interesting to see how passport prices have increased over a decade. Data comes from readers and web sources (passport office, if possible). However, the list and its data are incomplete, but I will update them whenever I can.
|Trinidad & Tobago||20||10||n|
Readers might still remember the British Visitor Passport (BVP), a travel document used within Europe; one could get instantly at the post office – for £1.50 (1971).
In Cambodia, the passport fees are three times higher at $100 than in the neighboring country, Thailand, with only $33. The Thai passport was improved several times but remained at the same fees (B1000) since 2010. The new generation of Thai eMRTD is now valid for ten years. The New Zealand passport was in 2010 at $100 and in 2019 at $128. Australia $145 ($205) and today at $308. Germany $66 – same fees since 2010, even after a complete redesign in 2017. Austria was until the end of 1999 at $38 and increased in Jan 2000 to $76. Today the Austrian passport costs $84. Passports are constantly getting more expensive as the security printing industry/government argues they always need safer documents to fight the forgers. Some countries like Denmark or Malaysia would charge you an extra fee (penalty) for your new passport if you lost your old one. I think that is justified.