U.S. passport fees set to increase on April 2

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Travel season is right around the corner, and if you're planning on heading overseas, you'll likely need a passport. If you want to save some money, you'll want to apply now.

Starting April 2, passport prices will increase nationwide. The U.S. State Department is raising passport "execution fees" starting by $10 dollars, which means the price will go up from $25 to $35 dollars.

The fee change will bump the total cost of a U.S. passport to $145 for adults and $115 for children 16 and younger. The execution fee is only charged to people who apply in person at an official passport agency like a U.S. Post Office or other offices like the clerk of a county.

Two recent studies by the State Department and the U.S. Postal Service found processing costs are now higher than the $25 dollar fee, and that's what prompted the increase. Tammy Jordan with the Horry County Clerk of Court's office, said the reason is due to the price of postage and supplies increasing.

However, it's important to note, if you are renewing your passport by mail, this price increase won't affect you.

"It won't have that effect on them because they don't pay that $25 anyways. If you're renewing your passport, what you're doing is paying the $110, but you are sending that directly to Charleston...to the state, so you're not really paying that to the county at all. So, it won't have an effect on the renewal," said  Horry County Clerk of Court Renee Elvis.

So far in 2018, the Clerk of Court's office says Horry County has approved on average 450 passports every month.  It also says right now is the busiest time of year, as people get ready for travel season.

Many countries won't accept passports that are within 6 months of their expiration dates, so it's a good idea to keep an eye on your expiration date.

If you're getting a new one, remember you'll have to wait 4 to 6 weeks for it to be mailed to you. If you choose to expedite it, it will take 2 to 3 weeks.

Elvis says she doesn't see the price increase causing too much of an issue for travelers in the future.

"I don't think so. I really don't think so, I think it's just one of those things like gas prices. You just know it's going to go up and we're going still keep driving and we're still going to keep traveling, as long as we an afford it. If we can afford a trip, what's $10 right?"

However, Elvis said if you have larger families in need of passports, that $10 will likely add up. Therefore, it might be a good idea to get them now before April 2.

The following locations in Horry County are official passport agencies:

Conway Post Office

2570 Main St

Conway, SC 29526

(843) 248-6313

Horry County Courthouse Clerk of Court

9630 Scipio Ln

Myrtle Beach, SC 29588

(843) 915-5082

Horry County Clerk's Office

1301 2nd Ave

Conway, SC 29526

(843) 915-6726

Myrtle Beach Main Post Office

505 N Kings Hwy

Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

(843) 626-9533

Longs Post Office

50 Highway 9th East

Little River, SC 29568

(843) 399-6767

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