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View Full Version : Vent -- Why are passports so expensive??


momtosam
03-08-2011, 08:02 PM
I started looking into ideas for a summer vacation and was checking out cruises, until I realized all four of us would need passports and how expensive that would be. Why on Earth do they cost so much money? It's just another one of those government fees that hits the wallet of the average person too hard. :mad: because I want to be -----> :beach:

beansmom
03-08-2011, 08:12 PM
I started looking into ideas for a summer vacation and was checking out cruises, until I realized all four of us would need passports and how expensive that would be. Why on Earth do they cost so much money? It's just another one of those government fees that hits the wallet of the average person too hard. :mad: because I want to be -----> :beach:

because they're issued by the government and they CAN charge it.

robin09
03-08-2011, 08:16 PM
I started looking into ideas for a summer vacation and was checking out cruises, until I realized all four of us would need passports and how expensive that would be. Why on Earth do they cost so much money? It's just another one of those government fees that hits the wallet of the average person too hard. :mad: because I want to be -----> :beach:

I've been thinking the same thing.... especially since we live Upstate NEw York, close to Canada.. and now we can't go there. We are looking into the card that lets you drive into mexico and Canada.. and we can use on the cruise. THe only setback I can see is if an emergency comes up we can't fly out. BUT it is sooo much cheaper to do it this way for us, as we are a family of 3.

punkin
03-08-2011, 08:19 PM
They're good for 10 years (except the kids' passports). I don't think it's that bad.

Manda513
03-08-2011, 08:23 PM
If it is a closed loop cruise (one that returns to the same place it departs) then you do not need a passport. That being said if something God forbid happens you will have difficulty getting back into the states without one if you need to fly home for whatever reason.

Duckyiam71
03-08-2011, 08:23 PM
I feel your pain. We are moving to Germany and have no choice but to pay the fee. Of course, we can get no fee passports but technically you can only go to Germany and that is it. But they are good for years and think of all the good memories. :rolleyes:

Marionnette
03-08-2011, 08:55 PM
They're good for 10 years (except the kids' passports). I don't think it's that bad.
I got my first passport 6 years ago and it was one of the best investments I ever made. The kids had to renew their's last year because passports for minors are only good for 5 years.

Chelley00
03-08-2011, 09:04 PM
DH and I got our 2 years ago, but this weekend I'm getting ready to shell out the $$$ for all 4 of our kids to get a passport for our summer vacation.

When DH and I got ours I was appalled about how much they cost because I thought that would be the only time we'd use them, but this will be the third time they've been used, and we still have another 8 years to go. When you look at it that way, the cost is easier to take.

sk!mom
03-08-2011, 09:05 PM
I got my first passport 6 years ago and it was one of the best investments I ever made. The kids had to renew their's last year because passports for minors are only good for 5 years.

I agree! Great investment and not that expensive when you consider how long they are good. Ours are staggered, DH and I had them before our kids, so DH and I renew at the same time but DD does not.

allison443
03-08-2011, 09:08 PM
They're good for 10 years (except the kids' passports). I don't think it's that bad.

I agree!

McKelly
03-08-2011, 09:10 PM
How much are they?

MrsPete
03-08-2011, 09:13 PM
I agree that they're grossly overpriced, and while IN THEORY they keep "the wrong people" from coming into the country, the reality is that they just keep honest people jumping through hoops. They're also outdated because they don't fit into a wallet nicely.

I also can't buy into the idea that they're inexpensive because they're good for 10 years. How many times will you use that passport in the next 10 years? If -- like my husband -- you're going to travel for business and will use it several times a year, it's money well spent. Or, if you're a family who's going to travel on non-cruise vacations, you may NEED a passport for some destinations. On the other hand, if -- like my kids -- you're going to go on 1-2 cruises before your passport expires, then it's an expensive proposition.

An analogy: Which is more expensive? The $15 dress that you wore once, or the $100 jeans that you wear twice a week for two years 'til they fall apart? Sure, the dress didn't cost much . . . but in the long run, given that it got so little use, it was a waste of money. A passport that sits in the safe for 9 years and 50 weeks of its 10 years is the same -- it's pretty expensive when you consider its "cost per use".


Back to the OP:

If you're looking at a typical Caribbean cruise that leaves and returns to Florida (or another American port), you can cruise with just a driver's license and a certified birth certificate (be sure it's a certified copy). Those documents will get you on and off the cruise ship without any problem. They don't take any more time, and they aren't any more inconvenient.

Of course, the doom and gloom squad will warn you that 1) if you have an emergency and need to fly home halfway through your cruise, you can't do that from foreign soil without a passport. Of course, you couldn't fly home 'til you reached an island anyway, and that could be 2-3 days . . . and some of those islands are US soil. 2) if you were stupid enough to miss the ship at one of your port stops, it'd be both trouble and money to be able to get back to the US. Yes, these things could happen, but they are highly unlikely. Everything you do -- even driving to work each day -- entails some risk. You have to decide upon your personal comfort level.

Another option: The passport card. This costs much less -- I want to say $20, but I'm not sure I'm right on that. It's a wallet-sized card, and it allows ground travel within North America; thus, you can use it really just for Mexico and Canada. However, it is more expensive than the birth certificate option, and it doesn't allow you to fly, so for this application it has no advantage over the birth certificate.

Leajess99
03-08-2011, 09:36 PM
I agree that they're grossly overpriced, and while IN THEORY they keep "the wrong people" from coming into the country, the reality is that they just keep honest people jumping through hoops. They're also outdated because they don't fit into a wallet nicely.

I also can't buy into the idea that they're inexpensive because they're good for 10 years. How many times will you use that passport in the next 10 years? If -- like my husband -- you're going to travel for business and will use it several times a year, it's money well spent. Or, if you're a family who's going to travel on non-cruise vacations, you may NEED a passport for some destinations. On the other hand, if -- like my kids -- you're going to go on 1-2 cruises before your passport expires, then it's an expensive proposition.

An analogy: Which is more expensive? The $15 dress that you wore once, or the $100 jeans that you wear twice a week for two years 'til they fall apart? Sure, the dress didn't cost much . . . but in the long run, given that it got so little use, it was a waste of money. A passport that sits in the safe for 9 years and 50 weeks of its 10 years is the same -- it's pretty expensive when you consider its "cost per use".


Back to the OP:

If you're looking at a typical Caribbean cruise that leaves and returns to Florida (or another American port), you can cruise with just a driver's license and a certified birth certificate (be sure it's a certified copy). Those documents will get you on and off the cruise ship without any problem. They don't take any more time, and they aren't any more inconvenient.

Of course, the doom and gloom squad will warn you that 1) if you have an emergency and need to fly home halfway through your cruise, you can't do that from foreign soil without a passport. Of course, you couldn't fly home 'til you reached an island anyway, and that could be 2-3 days . . . and some of those islands are US soil. 2) if you were stupid enough to miss the ship at one of your port stops, it'd be both trouble and money to be able to get back to the US. Yes, these things could happen, but they are highly unlikely. Everything you do -- even driving to work each day -- entails some risk. You have to decide upon your personal comfort level.

Another option: The passport card. This costs much less -- I want to say $20, but I'm not sure I'm right on that. It's a wallet-sized card, and it allows ground travel within North America; thus, you can use it really just for Mexico and Canada. However, it is more expensive than the birth certificate option, and it doesn't allow you to fly, so for this application it has no advantage over the birth certificate.

Thank you so much for this information. I was wanting to take my kids on a cruise but because of my ex and I being divorced, getting a passport for the younger 2 kids is not gonna happen. I was upset that we would never get to take a cruise but now I feel better knowing there is a chance still.

ilovemk76
03-08-2011, 09:38 PM
They are not expensive. They are the #1 form of ID in the world. You will be paying thousands to travel outsideof the country and find the cost of the passport to be prohibitive?

The fee is set for all the investigation they do before they issue this form of ID. The person getting the passport is the one paying for the investigation. Do you want taxpayers to pay for the investigation so you can travel abroad?

ilovemk76
03-08-2011, 09:40 PM
Thank you so much for this information. I was wanting to take my kids on a cruise but because of my ex and I being divorced, getting a passport for the younger 2 kids is not gonna happen. I was upset that we would never get to take a cruise but now I feel better knowing there is a chance still.


I could be wrong but I believe you will need his permission to take them on a cruise.

SandrA9810
03-08-2011, 10:02 PM
You still need both parental permission before taking a child out of the country, that way one parent can't try to abduct a child to oversees.

It is the most universal form of ID you can have, and ALWAYS accepted. Like when applying for a job, you can provide your passport or two other forms of ID. And of course it is good for 10 years.

I've debated about getting one, while the upfront cost is a bit much, it's good to have.

ExPirateShopGirl
03-09-2011, 12:41 AM
Not every divorce situation requires the consent of BOTH parents to travel abroad if a child has a passport. By the same token, consent may be needed just to take a child out of state from the non custodial parent. Because laws and divorce agreements can vary so greatly, please don't offer generalized information.

momtosam
03-09-2011, 07:09 AM
Back to the OP:

If you're looking at a typical Caribbean cruise that leaves and returns to Florida (or another American port), you can cruise with just a driver's license and a certified birth certificate (be sure it's a certified copy). Those documents will get you on and off the cruise ship without any problem. They don't take any more time, and they aren't any more inconvenient.

Of course, the doom and gloom squad will warn you that 1) if you have an emergency and need to fly home halfway through your cruise, you can't do that from foreign soil without a passport. Of course, you couldn't fly home 'til you reached an island anyway, and that could be 2-3 days . . . and some of those islands are US soil. 2) if you were stupid enough to miss the ship at one of your port stops, it'd be both trouble and money to be able to get back to the US. Yes, these things could happen, but they are highly unlikely. Everything you do -- even driving to work each day -- entails some risk. You have to decide upon your personal comfort level.

Another option: The passport card. This costs much less -- I want to say $20, but I'm not sure I'm right on that. It's a wallet-sized card, and it allows ground travel within North America; thus, you can use it really just for Mexico and Canada. However, it is more expensive than the birth certificate option, and it doesn't allow you to fly, so for this application it has no advantage over the birth certificate.[/QUOTE]

Thank you so much for this! These are things I didn't know.

maggiew
03-09-2011, 07:35 AM
Not every divorce situation requires the consent of BOTH parents to travel abroad if a child has a passport. By the same token, consent may be needed just to take a child out of state from the non custodial parent. Because laws and divorce agreements can vary so greatly, please don't offer generalized information.

The past poster MIGHT be asked to provide evidence that she is allowed to take the children out of the country. Whether that is a notarized letter, a copy of the divorce papers, etc. They should be prepared to produce something. Otherwise they might not be allowed to board. You can read these situations almost daily on the Cruise critics board. (It seemed the PP was talking about a situation without a passport.) It also seems from the stories I read on Cruise Critic that if you have a different last name from the child (like if you remarried), you might have a higher chance of being asked.

Anyone who is traveling with a child and both parents are not present should be prepared to provide documents. You might be asked, and you might not. But you sure don't want to be in the situation where you are asked and don't have the documents. This includes if you are taking a "girls only" trip with your daughters and no divorce is involved. It also includes things like taking a friend of your child on a cruise with you.

To the OP, as stated previously, you do not NEED a passport to cruise on a closed-loop cruise. (Just don't do a transatlantic or repositioning cruise.) However, I am one of those who recommend getting a passport just in case. No one thinks they will miss the ship, etc. BUT, if you think you might cruise again or go someplace later that requires a passport, why don't you think about slowly getting everyone passports. You can maybe get one per year? Or split it up to 2 per year to get them faster depending on how many people.

Maggie

nunzia
03-09-2011, 07:48 AM
When I got one a few years ago, they were $99. Have they gone up? I think the fee is actually amazingly cheap considering it's from the government..(and if things don't change, I'll need mine to fly DOMESTICALLY since NM gives out drivers licenses to illegals they aren't an accepted form of ID to fly)

scrapquitler
03-09-2011, 07:57 AM
They are not expensive. They are the #1 form of ID in the world.

I agree with this.

The Passport is THE BEST form of ID that there is. It contains all the info of the birth certificate plus your photo. It is the gold standard of identification. Most times where you need multiple IDs, if you have the passport, you don't need any other forms.

I remember when I was 16 and getting my drivers license. My friends were having trouble scrounging up all the various types of ids necessary to get a drivers license (one from column a and one from column b, etc). I had a passport, and that was the ONLY form of ID I needed to show at the DMV to get my license. It was SO much easier.

cvjw
03-09-2011, 08:28 AM
We are going to Turks and Caicos next month, and all of our passports were expired, and had to be renewed at the same time!

Children - $80 for passport, plus $25 each "processing fee"

Adult Renewal - either $110 or $120 each, no processing fee for renewals

It was around $450 for our family of 4 to get our passports!

SaraJayne
03-09-2011, 08:29 AM
I agree they are not expensive, considering the security they provide.

We got all 4 of us passports last summer...and we plan on using them. ;)

For those of you wanting to take a cruise and want to take the risk of not having a passport, that's your choice.

However, if something were to happen and you had a terribly difficult time getting home, don't complain about what a pain in the rear it was because you didn't have a passport (which happens frequently on CC).

SaraJayne
03-09-2011, 08:30 AM
This shows the current prices of passports and passcards for adult and children.

http://travel.state.gov/passport/fees/fees_837.html

Lewisc
03-09-2011, 08:31 AM
Not every divorce situation requires the consent of BOTH parents to travel abroad if a child has a passport. By the same token, consent may be needed just to take a child out of state from the non custodial parent. Because laws and divorce agreements can vary so greatly, please don't offer generalized information.

Mexico can require a single parent entering with a minor child produce a notarized consent form from the other parent. A legal document showing the parent has sole custody may suffice. A copy of the divorce degree might work but I'd check first.

A few years ago a family got bumped. One parent took a child on one flight and the other parent and child took a different flight. Problems entering Mexico. My memory is someone tracked down the other parent at some airport to get consent.

A divorce degree may require consent to take a child out of state but there aren't any law enforcement officials physically stopping it.

MrsPete
03-09-2011, 08:46 AM
They are not expensive. They are the #1 form of ID in the world. You will be paying thousands to travel outsideof the country and find the cost of the passport to be prohibitive?

The fee is set for all the investigation they do before they issue this form of ID. The person getting the passport is the one paying for the investigation. Do you want taxpayers to pay for the investigation so you can travel abroad?In what way do you see them as the #1 form of ID in the world?

Whatever ID the people use in China and India is probably the #1 in terms of sheer numbers. Here in the US, the most commonly used ID is a state-issued driver's license; after all, it's more compact and easier to carry.

And the investigation they do is all just a computer check that takes minutes. I don't think it's worth the cost of the passport, especially since a person might get a passport today and then develop criminal tendencies tomorrow . . . and he'd have 9 years before the passport needs renewing and his "investigation" turns up anything.

Ask yourself this: People don't complain about the cost of getting their driver's license renewed, yet they do complain about the cost of a passport. Why? Simple: The driver's license costs $25 every five years, and the license is used on a fairly constant basis (less often now that we don't write checks like we used to). The passport, however, is $135 for an adult and most people don't use it regularly. Big difference in value for the money.

What I would support rather than our current archaic passport system: The national driver's license, which a few states have begun using. Unlike the passport, it isn't so expensive that people question its cost, it's the same for every state so law enforcement officers could recognize fakes more easily, and it fits in to a wallet. Technology makes it easy to keep the records of who's traveled where in electronic files rather than stamps on passport paper. I've been thinking the same thing.... especially since we live Upstate NEw York, close to Canada.. and now we can't go there. We are looking into the card that lets you drive into mexico and Canada.. and we can use on the cruise. THe only setback I can see is if an emergency comes up we can't fly out. BUT it is sooo much cheaper to do it this way for us, as we are a family of 3.Now that makes sense for those of you who are close enough to a border to come and go on a frequent basis. You'd probably get plenty of use out of a passport. How much are they?$135 for an adult, $105 for a minor (defined as 16 and under). So for a family of four (assuming two adults, two kids) you're talking about $480. Depending upon the time of year you're traveling, that could be one person's cruise ticket.

Compared to the other option, which is FREE, that's a good bit of money -- IF you want just to take one cruise. I agree with this.

The Passport is THE BEST form of ID that there is. It contains all the info of the birth certificate plus your photo. It is the gold standard of identification. Most times where you need multiple IDs, if you have the passport, you don't need any other forms.

I remember when I was 16 and getting my drivers license. My friends were having trouble scrounging up all the various types of ids necessary to get a drivers license (one from column a and one from column b, etc). I had a passport, and that was the ONLY form of ID I needed to show at the DMV to get my license. It was SO much easier.Perhaps it varies from state to state, but last time I got my license renewed I had to wait and wait and wait . . . and I overheard the very unpleasant woman at the desk fussing with a whole lot of people about having the wrong identification. One young boy's mother brought him in just to have a state issued ID made (he was too young for a driver's license). She brought in his passport, and she was told that they don't accept that as ID. When my daughter went to get her license, knowing how horrible the DMV is, we brought a number of items: Her Social Security card, her birth certificate, her passport. They accepted the first two but wouldn't look at her passport. By pure chance, it was report card day and she had an official report card on official school paper in her bookbag. They accepted that. Actually . . . I'm not sure that I'm telling the whole truth about what we brought, but I do remember that they wouldn't take the passport and the school report card saved the day.

I don't agree with the idea that a report card and a Social Security card should be accepted by the DMV ahead of a passport, but I have personally observed it twice.

mrsklamc
03-09-2011, 09:13 AM
Also, in the unlikely event that you were to have a true medical emergency while on a closed loop cruise, the state department would get you back in the country.

SaraJayne
03-09-2011, 09:18 AM
Also, in the unlikely event that you were to have a true medical emergency while on a closed loop cruise, the state department would get you back in the country.

Eventually, they would. It may take a few days, but you'd get back to the US eventually.

mrsklamc
03-09-2011, 09:21 AM
Eventually, they would. It may take a few days, but you'd get back to the US eventually.

Yes. It would definitely be less convenient, so you have to consider whether you are willing to take that risk.

Lewisc
03-09-2011, 09:21 AM
Also, in the unlikely event that you were to have a true medical emergency while on a closed loop cruise, the state department would get you back in the country.

Probably, but there might be a delay. I'm not sure what would happen if your reason was less urgent. You want to fly home because a close friend was in an accident.

Part of the cost of the passport goes to setup and run the computer system that's used to check.

We don't want to pay higher taxes. Government is using "user fees" as a way to "enhance" revenue. Let people using a service pay for it. I'm not saying I agree with it. Park admission is higher. Some states have raised the cost of registering your car.

The cost isn't a large % of your trip cost if you're going to Europe. It becomes a large % for a family of 4, taking a discounted cruise.

okeydokey
03-09-2011, 11:16 AM
They cost money because of the salaries paid to the people who do the check and the work to issue it to you. They are not volunteers. I think the price is reasonable.

4forWDW
03-09-2011, 11:29 AM
We are thinking of going out of the states in 3 years for our DD's 16th Birthday. I told my DH that starting in about a year we'll start getting our passports and that way it will stagger the expense and we won't have that expense for me, DH, DS and DD all at once.

Mom of 3 Princesses
03-09-2011, 11:42 AM
I agree!

Agreed

punkin
03-09-2011, 11:57 AM
We are thinking of going out of the states in 3 years for our DD's 16th Birthday. I told my DH that starting in about a year we'll start getting our passports and that way it will stagger the expense and we won't have that expense for me, DH, DS and DD all at once.

We also have staggered passports. DD18 is one date; DH is another; and DD12 and I are on one date. I

always thought it was reasonably priced, though a bit of a shock to the wallet. I figure if you can get 2 trips in 10 years out of one passports, it's not so bad. Since we seem to average about 5 trips in 10 years (last time it was France, Canada, cruise, Jamaica, Curacao), I really can't complain.

bettymae1121
03-09-2011, 11:59 AM
Not every divorce situation requires the consent of BOTH parents to travel abroad if a child has a passport. By the same token, consent may be needed just to take a child out of state from the non custodial parent. Because laws and divorce agreements can vary so greatly, please don't offer generalized information.

Many countries require permision from the absent parent, including Mexico and Canada. If you don't have a noterized letter, you can be denied boarding for international flight or a cruise, and you'll be stoped at land boarder crossings. This is true even if you aren't divorced. If one of the parents isn't traveling, you need this letter! Also, if you have sole custody of your child(ren) or if you are a widow(er) you will need proof of that in leu of the noterized letter.

Generally it's just a good idea to get the letter, even if a country doesn't require it, it will protect the traveling parent from any misunderstandings with the ex.

As for the OP, the passport cards are much less than the full passports, if you qualify for them I'd look into doing that instead.

cluvsdisney
03-09-2011, 12:02 PM
It can be a big upfront expense but they are good for a long time - annualy it works out to less then $15 per year or $1.25 per month. Maybe that will ease the pain of getting them all at once now.

eliza61
03-09-2011, 12:07 PM
Not that expensive.
It's a universal form of ID.
Last for 10 years.
allows you to travel and probably one of the cheapest parts of the trip.

Totally voluntary. don't want to pay the fee, don't leave the states. Really that simple.

Mom of 3 Princesses
03-09-2011, 12:08 PM
Many countries require permision from the absent parent, including Mexico and Canada. If you don't have a noterized letter, you can be denied boarding for international flight or a cruise, and you'll be stoped at land boarder crossings. This is true even if you aren't divorced. If one of the parents isn't traveling, you need this letter! Also, if you have sole custody of your child(ren) or if you are a widow(er) you will need proof of that in leu of the noterized letter.

Generally it's just a good idea to get the letter, even if a country doesn't require it, it will protect the traveling parent from any misunderstandings with the ex.

As for the OP, the passport cards are much less than the full passports, if you qualify for them I'd look into doing that instead.

Red is mine.

XH and I have joint custody of our children. Although, technically they are with me more. However, before I leave the country I ALWAYS have him sign a notarized letter saying that he is aware and consents to my taking the children out of the country for XX amount of time.

It is good practice, and at Customs, they are very skeptical sometimes. I have a married name, but legally, I kept my former name so that my name and my older (12,15) children's names are the same. The baby has my husband's name. I kept the name for reasons like this. When they turn 18 I will change it to my now husbands.

ilovemk76
03-09-2011, 12:09 PM
In what way do you see them as the #1 form of ID in the world?
Whatever ID the people use in China and India is probably the #1 in terms of sheer numbers. Here in the US, the most commonly used ID is a state-issued driver's license; after all, it's more compact and easier to carry.

And the investigation they do is all just a computer check that takes minutes. I don't think it's worth the cost of the passport, especially since a person might get a passport today and then develop criminal tendencies tomorrow . . . and he'd have 9 years before the passport needs renewing and his "investigation" turns up anything.

Ask yourself this: People don't complain about the cost of getting their driver's license renewed, yet they do complain about the cost of a passport. Why? Simple: The driver's license costs $25 every five years, and the license is used on a fairly constant basis (less often now that we don't write checks like we used to). The passport, however, is $135 for an adult and most people don't use it regularly. Big difference in value for the money.

What I would support rather than our current archaic passport system: The national driver's license, which a few states have begun using. Unlike the passport, it isn't so expensive that people question its cost, it's the same for every state so law enforcement officers could recognize fakes more easily, and it fits in to a wallet. Technology makes it easy to keep the records of who's traveled where in electronic files rather than stamps on passport paper. Now that makes sense for those of you who are close enough to a border to come and go on a frequent basis. You'd probably get plenty of use out of a passport. $135 for an adult, $105 for a minor (defined as 16 and under). So for a family of four (assuming two adults, two kids) you're talking about $480. Depending upon the time of year you're traveling, that could be one person's cruise ticket.

Compared to the other option, which is FREE, that's a good bit of money -- IF you want just to take one cruise. Perhaps it varies from state to state, but last time I got my license renewed I had to wait and wait and wait . . . and I overheard the very unpleasant woman at the desk fussing with a whole lot of people about having the wrong identification. One young boy's mother brought him in just to have a state issued ID made (he was too young for a driver's license). She brought in his passport, and she was told that they don't accept that as ID. When my daughter went to get her license, knowing how horrible the DMV is, we brought a number of items: Her Social Security card, her birth certificate, her passport. They accepted the first two but wouldn't look at her passport. By pure chance, it was report card day and she had an official report card on official school paper in her bookbag. They accepted that. Actually . . . I'm not sure that I'm telling the whole truth about what we brought, but I do remember that they wouldn't take the passport and the school report card saved the day.

I don't agree with the idea that a report card and a Social Security card should be accepted by the DMV ahead of a passport, but I have personally observed it twice.


They are #1 because they are valid any where is the world. A NC DL may not be valid ID for a NC resident in India but a US passport it. That is why it is #1. It is the only single form of ID that proves you are who you are - birth information, photo and fingerprint.

Whether you buy a DL or a PP it is your choice. A person can live their entire life without either.

That DL will not get you any place outside of the US but that PP opens the entire world to you.


I would want a PP on a closed loop cruise just in case you need to be air lifted back home due to a medical problem. I know a person who this happened to and the DH was in his 30s.

Shleedogg
03-09-2011, 12:13 PM
Because their processing is so overstaffed. The gov't doesn't process them, they contract them out. I used to work for the large financial organization that processed them, started in data entry entering the passport info from scanned forms then worked my way up.

They staff up for the busy season in the spring. We're talking about 200 people per shift for 3 shifts, plus a weekend shift. In the spring and early summer, they need that many people; 3-4 months. The rest of the year, they don't but keep the staff. The staff are mainly temps but they keep them anyway. The rest of the year, they get paid to go home early when there is no work. The government pays for all of this. This, to me, is a poor management choice. I think you'll find similar choices in most gov't agencies and contracts.

There are also fully staffed locations in LA and CT where they both scan in the passport forms and enter in the data. There could be some cuts made in staffing. The situation could have changed, I quit 3 years ago. However, I see on FB that some of my former coworkers who still work there are still going home early through a lot of the year. Perhaps they wised up and only pay the perm staff to go home and not the temps? We can hope.

dex08
03-09-2011, 12:15 PM
They're good for 10 years (except the kids' passports). I don't think it's that bad.

I agree!

The fee for an adult passport is $110 + $25 execution fee for first time applications. This turns out to be only $13.50 per year (it's good for 10).

For renewals it's only $140 so $14 per year isn't bad either!

BLAZEY
03-09-2011, 12:19 PM
I don't know about the US passport fees, but in Canada we pay $87 for an adult passport which is valid for 5yrs. I know part of that fee is to pay for Consular and Embassy Services abroad. It is part of the breakdown of the total fee.

bumbershoot
03-09-2011, 12:25 PM
Anyone who is traveling with a child and both parents are not present should be prepared to provide documents. You might be asked, and you might not. But you sure don't want to be in the situation where you are asked and don't have the documents.

Agreed!

They cost money because of the salaries paid to the people who do the check and the work to issue it to you. They are not volunteers. I think the price is reasonable.

I agree with that as well. It's painful to put out the price for more than one at a time, but ultimately it's well worth it. We had renewed DH's b/c of a job he had taken (and got to pay to express it the entire way!), but mine was about to be unrenewable (they are good for 10 years, but you can wait another 5 to renew it, and I was within a week or so of that 15 year mark) when we found out about the price changes a year or so ago. So we bought two when we didn't even expect to get one! Ouch! But just having the passports makes me happy.

We are thinking of going out of the states in 3 years for our DD's 16th Birthday. I told my DH that starting in about a year we'll start getting our passports and that way it will stagger the expense and we won't have that expense for me, DH, DS and DD all at once.

I personally would rather just put that money into a savings account and not touch it until it's time to buy them all. Why? Because it would feel like a bigger waste to buy a passport 2 years before I even plan to travel, especially when you're talking about a kid's passport that doesn't even last the 10 years of an adult passport. And the 16 thing would make me crazy, because that's when they can get an adult passport so hers wouldn't even be good for the whole 5 years...

They are #1 because they are valid any where is the world.

Yep. ANY passport is the #1 ID, not just America's, which is what I think the pp that said it was #1 meant.

ilovemk76
03-09-2011, 12:33 PM
Yep. ANY passport is the #1 ID, not just America's, which is what I think the pp that said it was #1 meant.

I was the PP who said they were the #1 ID. The reply of mine you quoted was in reply to anothe poster who implied they can't be #1 because other ID are more common. I tried to explain why they are #1. It was in acceptance not in volume that they are #1. I am glad you understood what I said.

wvjules
03-09-2011, 12:45 PM
We are thinking of going out of the states in 3 years for our DD's 16th Birthday. I told my DH that starting in about a year we'll start getting our passports and that way it will stagger the expense and we won't have that expense for me, DH, DS and DD all at once.

If you get DD's passport at age 15 is is only good for 5 years. However, if you wait until she actually turns 16 it is an adult passport and will be good for 10 years. So if the trip is a couple of months after she turns 16 I would wait to get hers last so she won't have to get a new one in 5 years.

My DD turns 16 in 3 months and I'm holding out to get her an adult passport. We don't have any plans to travel abroad anytime soon I just want her to have one in case we decide to do an improptu trip somewhere sometime. Don't want her lack of a passport holding us up.

4forWDW
03-09-2011, 12:51 PM
wvjules - Thanks for the info. We would in fact be going after she turns 16.
So, hers will be the last one to buy.
Thanks again.

allison443
03-09-2011, 12:57 PM
Not that expensive.
It's a universal form of ID.
Last for 10 years.
allows you to travel and probably one of the cheapest parts of the trip.

Totally voluntary. don't want to pay the fee, don't leave the states. Really that simple.

It is that simple...everywhere but here on the dis! ;)

MrsPete
03-09-2011, 01:08 PM
Yes. It would definitely be less convenient, so you have to consider whether you are willing to take that risk.You're absolutely right -- it would be less convenient, and it would cost money. IF you have an emergency.

So if you're going to use the passports for other travel, you really do need the passport.

But if you're just going on a closed-loop cruise, you have to ask yourself what you deem to be your personal risk. And then ask yourself whether you're willing to pay $480/family JUST IN CASE something happens, or take a risk that in the highly unlikely situation that something happens, you'd pay even more.

The important thing is that you understand the options and the risks so that you're able to make an educated decision.

ExPirateShopGirl
03-09-2011, 01:24 PM
Mexico does not require permission from a second parent. We travel there all the time. Not once have we been asked for anything besides our passports. In fact, my daughters have entered Mexico and reentered the US without me being in the same vehicle or on the same flight. Both as minors.

Further, we have traveled all over the world without a single instance of being asked to provide identification or notorized authorization for ANYTHING beyond our US passports, especially by airline personnel. My children have even traveled there WITHOUT A PARENT AT ALL. It is not the responsibility of airline customer service agents or the customs officers of each country to determine your familial status as you travel with documents which allow you to do so. It is the responsbility of the US department of state to determine BEFORE issuing that document.

Also understand that a notorized letter only means something in the US or within the US Consulate of any country you are visiting. If you have issues in another country, the consulate is your first resource for assistance. They are an extension of the US and the department of state and they would be able to act on the documentation you carry. Other countries don't necessarily follow the laws of the US.

Can having a notorized document help? I don't think it can hurt, but I myself have found them utterly unnecessary in 20 years of traveling abroad with minor children. Especially when one can produce ticketing for return travel to the US.


Many countries require permision from the absent parent, including Mexico and Canada. If you don't have a noterized letter, you can be denied boarding for international flight or a cruise, and you'll be stoped at land boarder crossings. This is true even if you aren't divorced. If one of the parents isn't traveling, you need this letter! Also, if you have sole custody of your child(ren) or if you are a widow(er) you will need proof of that in leu of the noterized letter.

Generally it's just a good idea to get the letter, even if a country doesn't require it, it will protect the traveling parent from any misunderstandings with the ex.

As for the OP, the passport cards are much less than the full passports, if you qualify for them I'd look into doing that instead.

taitai
03-09-2011, 01:59 PM
Mexico does not require permission from a second parent. We travel there all the time. Not once have we been asked for anything besides our passports. In fact, my daughters have entered Mexico and reentered the US without me being in the same vehicle or on the same flight. Both as minors.

Further, we have traveled all over the world without a single instance of being asked to provide identification or notorized authorization for ANYTHING beyond our US passports, especially by airline personnel. My children have even traveled there WITHOUT A PARENT AT ALL. It is not the responsibility of airline customer service agents or the customs officers of each country to determine your familial status as you travel with documents which allow you to do so. It is the responsbility of the US department of state to determine BEFORE issuing that document.

Also understand that a notorized letter only means something in the US or within the US Consulate of any country you are visiting. If you have issues in another country, the consulate is your first resource for assistance. They are an extension of the US and the department of state and they would be able to act on the documentation you carry. Other countries don't necessarily follow the laws of the US.

Can having a notorized document help? I don't think it can hurt, but I myself have found them utterly unnecessary in 20 years of traveling abroad with minor children. Especially when one can produce ticketing for return travel to the US.


Really? My research has indicated that it does require such documentations. I thought it was Mexican law. At least all that I have read indicates that. I believe they are starting to become even more strict in looking for the documents as Mexico is the leading destination for children taken in the US in custody disputes.

I have been asked for documentation when I have travelled to other countries with my kids and without my husband. My BIL and SIL both were asked for such documentation when travelling to Asia (a week apart, each took one kid) just last month. So, it seems as if enforcement is hit or miss.

Better to be safe and have the documentation. Have a great trip.

princessnoelly
03-09-2011, 02:00 PM
When I got one a few years ago, they were $99. Have they gone up? I think the fee is actually amazingly cheap considering it's from the government..(and if things don't change, I'll need mine to fly DOMESTICALLY since NM gives out drivers licenses to illegals they aren't an accepted form of ID to fly)

:thumbsup2 Yep!

bettymae1121
03-09-2011, 02:28 PM
Mexico does not require permission from a second parent. We travel there all the time. Not once have we been asked for anything besides our passports. In fact, my daughters have entered Mexico and reentered the US without me being in the same vehicle or on the same flight. Both as minors.

Further, we have traveled all over the world without a single instance of being asked to provide identification or notorized authorization for ANYTHING beyond our US passports, especially by airline personnel. My children have even traveled there WITHOUT A PARENT AT ALL. It is not the responsibility of airline customer service agents or the customs officers of each country to determine your familial status as you travel with documents which allow you to do so. It is the responsbility of the US department of state to determine BEFORE issuing that document.

Also understand that a notorized letter only means something in the US or within the US Consulate of any country you are visiting. If you have issues in another country, the consulate is your first resource for assistance. They are an extension of the US and the department of state and they would be able to act on the documentation you carry. Other countries don't necessarily follow the laws of the US.

Can having a notorized document help? I don't think it can hurt, but I myself have found them utterly unnecessary in 20 years of traveling abroad with minor children. Especially when one can produce ticketing for return travel to the US.

http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/eng/eacs_sheet.html

Unaccompanied Minors Departing Mexico

In order to combat international child abduction or the exploitation of minors, Article 215 of Mexico’s Ley General de Población requires that minor non-Mexican children leaving Mexico must be accompanied by both parents or guardians or be prepared to present written authorization to travel from the absent parent or parents.

This document must include:
the name(s) of the authorizing parent(s),
the name of the child,
the name(s) of the adult(s) accompanying the child, and
the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s)

The child must be carrying the original letter – not a faxed or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate) – and an original custody decree, if applicable.

If there is only one custodial parent, the accompanying adult should be prepared to present documentation to that effect (e.g, a court order granting sole custody to one parent, a death certificate for the absent parent, etc.).

01spirit750
03-09-2011, 02:30 PM
Off topic a bit but here are some passport suggestions:

1. Make 3 photo copies of your passport (just the main page with all your info):
Leave one copy at home or with a relative
Put one copy in your wallet
Put one copy in your luggage
If you lose your passport getting a replacement can be a real problem while in another country. If you have a photo copy, I have been told that the local US Embassy can get a new (temp) passport in a day or so.

2. Passports are the only globally accepted form of identification.

3. If you choose not to renew your passport, that is when you will need it the most.
A few years ago I decided not to renew my passport due to the expense. I then changed jobs that required international travel and had to go thru the ordeal of getting a new passport (renewals are easier and quicker).

4. Make sure you check the countries VISA (entry permit) requirements. Most countries allow a 30 day stay without a VISA, but mainland China requires a VISA for all entries.

buckirj1
03-09-2011, 02:38 PM
For what you get, I don't think a passport is at all expensive. I would hesitate to pay out for a child's passport, though. YMMV.

disneymarie
03-09-2011, 02:39 PM
I started looking into ideas for a summer vacation and was checking out cruises, until I realized all four of us would need passports and how expensive that would be. Why on Earth do they cost so much money? It's just another one of those government fees that hits the wallet of the average person too hard. :mad: because I want to be -----> :beach:

We got pass cards instead of passports,
I did the the pictures for .49 cents, the fees to file were around $30, kids were cheaper. They are good for driving across or ships, just not flights. I filled in the paperwork online and printed it, took it to the post office with our photo's.

http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html

http://www.epassportphoto.com/

this is the wizard to upload your photo save to the computer; then send it to Walgreens or save on a card for Sam's CVS, whatever their fee is for a 4 x 6 you get about 5 photos and only need 2 or 3.

It did not take long, less then 3 weeks for our family.

http://www.epassportphoto.com/Wizard.aspx?country=US&photo=0

Mickeyluver37
03-09-2011, 02:50 PM
Not every divorce situation requires the consent of BOTH parents to travel abroad if a child has a passport. By the same token, consent may be needed just to take a child out of state from the non custodial parent. Because laws and divorce agreements can vary so greatly, please don't offer generalized information.

There has to be some type of consent. DH and I are MARRIED and I can't apply for DD's passport or take her on her school field trip to Canada without DH being present when she applies for her passport, or getting a notarized statement saying he's ok with it.

ExPirateShopGirl
03-09-2011, 04:55 PM
Someone clearly forgot to relay that information to Airline personnel and US Immigration and border protection agents.... :rotfl2:

When a US citizen departs Mexico to re-enter the US they are NOT typically asked for documentation beyond the US passport to establish citizenship. We have flown in and out of SJD and PVR more times than I can count on my hand without once providing (or being asked for) ANY documentation beyond a passport. The same goes for the MX/US border at San Ysidro and Otay. We do volunteer work through a non-profit all throughout the Baja peninsula and mainland MX and we cross the border so frequently we have SENTRI passes. My daughter (only one is still a minor) doesn't even have to be in MY presence to reenter the US.

Perhaps they are targeting very young children who cannot yet speak for themselves or teen/pre-teen girls traveling with single males who don't appear to be related.




http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/eng/eacs_sheet.html

Unaccompanied Minors Departing Mexico

In order to combat international child abduction or the exploitation of minors, Article 215 of Mexico’s Ley General de Población requires that minor non-Mexican children leaving Mexico must be accompanied by both parents or guardians or be prepared to present written authorization to travel from the absent parent or parents.

This document must include:
the name(s) of the authorizing parent(s),
the name of the child,
the name(s) of the adult(s) accompanying the child, and
the notarized signature(s) of the absent parent(s)

The child must be carrying the original letter – not a faxed or scanned copy – as well as proof of the parent/child relationship (usually a birth certificate) – and an original custody decree, if applicable.

If there is only one custodial parent, the accompanying adult should be prepared to present documentation to that effect (e.g, a court order granting sole custody to one parent, a death certificate for the absent parent, etc.).

MrsPete
03-09-2011, 05:09 PM
They are #1 because they are valid any where is the world. A NC DL may not be valid ID for a NC resident in India but a US passport it. That is why it is #1. It is the only single form of ID that proves you are who you are - birth information, photo and fingerprint.Ah, then you meant it's #1 in that it allows you freedom to go more places. #1 is a vague term that could've meant any number of things. I would want a PP on a closed loop cruise just in case you need to be air lifted back home due to a medical problem. I know a person who this happened to and the DH was in his 30s.Sure, it could happen. Is it worth $480 just in case it does? That's up to each cruiser to decide. The fee for an adult passport is $110 + $25 execution fee for first time applications. This turns out to be only $13.50 per year (it's good for 10).

For renewals it's only $140 so $14 per year isn't bad either!Depends upon how you do the math. You've done it one way, here's the other: You pay $135 for a passport, and you use it twice in the ten years. That's $67.50 per use, which isn't much of a value IF a free option exists. Both are valid ways of looking at the cost.

Now, if you're going to Europe, no free option exists. If you're going on a cruise, the free option is available. Because it would feel like a bigger waste to buy a passport 2 years before I even plan to travel, especially when you're talking about a kid's passport that doesn't even last the 10 years of an adult passport. And the 16 thing would make me crazy, because that's when they can get an adult passport so hers wouldn't even be good for the whole 5 years... Absolutely! If you determine that you want/need to get passports, don't get them 'til the last minute! (Well, not literally the last minute, but certainly not two years in advance.) It makes no sense to buy a passport for a trip that's two years away -- it'll just sit there drawing closer and closer to its expiration date.

eliza61
03-09-2011, 09:22 PM
It is that simple...everywhere but here on the dis! ;)

I seriously don't sweat the small stuff. I figure if I'm dropping 1-2k on a cruise, the $139 bucks for a passport is not a deal breaker and hopefully I will travel a couple of more times in the next 10 years (that's a long time in my life).

I do break it down to the lowest common denominator and for me that's a love of travelling. I love to travel, if spending a couple of hundred one time allows me to do that easily. No worries. :banana:

kaytieeldr
03-09-2011, 10:28 PM
I seriously don't sweat the small stuff. I figure if I'm dropping 1-2k on a cruise, the $139 bucks for a passport is not a deal breaker and hopefully I will travel a couple of more times in the next 10 years (that's a long time in my life).

I do break it down to the lowest common denominator and for me that's a love of travelling. I love to travel, if spending a couple of hundred one time allows me to do that easily. No worries. :banana:
I don't even have a trip planned. My old passport expired so many years ago, I didn't qualify for a renewal (i.e. the pricing). I got a new passport last July. Why? Well, the price was going up - this is the Bargain Board, after all :teeth: - and now, even when you get hired for a job you need to provide identification. There are lists of choices - either one from column B and one from column C, or one from column A. A U.S. Passport is at the top of column A. It's a no-brainer, and I have the bonus of being able to travel internationally on a whim ;)

AmberHeartsDisney
03-10-2011, 10:09 AM
they are good for 10 years too i think right?

mhsjax
03-10-2011, 10:19 AM
I seriously don't sweat the small stuff. I figure if I'm dropping 1-2k on a cruise, the $139 bucks for a passport is not a deal breaker and hopefully I will travel a couple of more times in the next 10 years (that's a long time in my life).

I do break it down to the lowest common denominator and for me that's a love of travelling. I love to travel, if spending a couple of hundred one time allows me to do that easily. No worries. :banana:

Yes, but just yesterday we paid $345.00 for my kids to go on a cruise. We got ours a couple of years ago. We don't plan on leaving the country other than the cruise, but we don't want to take the chance of not having passports.

Yes I think it is a little bit of a rip off. Those people are on payroll, but they don't just do passports, they have other jobs. Much like everything in the Gov't. pretty much a waste of money. But I do agree, it is a choice, and we are paying the price, but not liking it that much.

MomToOne
03-10-2011, 12:26 PM
In my experience, cruise lines are very proactive in making sure you have any documentation that MIGHT be needed to reenter the country. Even more so than the airlines for som reasons. Customs and Immigration may or may not ask for it - usually they don't! - but it would only take one case of a cruise lines taking on a passenger that wasn't allowed back into the country due to paperwork issues for them to have a mess on their hands.

I adopted my daughter as a single parent. I always carry a certified copy of her adoption decree with me when I travel outside of the US, in addition to her passport, that shows it was a single parent adoption. If I remember right, I ended up producing it while checking in for a cruise a couple of years ago...

Also, while the fees are high, the State Department is one of the few government agencies that is actually reasonable to deal with. I keep my daughter's passport up to date because I use it as proof of her citizenship - it's MUCH easier than trying to get proof of citizenship out of Immigration! I'll gladly pay their fees every 5 years just for that. The State Department has their act together, knows all the rules, enforces them stictly but fairly, and treats you like a person in the process. Immigration assumes you are a criminal trying to get something past them...

NotUrsula
03-10-2011, 02:07 PM
Because their processing is so overstaffed. The gov't doesn't process them, they contract them out. I used to work for the large financial organization that processed them, started in data entry entering the passport info from scanned forms then worked my way up.

They staff up for the busy season in the spring. We're talking about 200 people per shift for 3 shifts, plus a weekend shift. In the spring and early summer, they need that many people; 3-4 months. The rest of the year, they don't but keep the staff. The staff are mainly temps but they keep them anyway. The rest of the year, they get paid to go home early when there is no work. The government pays for all of this. This, to me, is a poor management choice. I think you'll find similar choices in most gov't agencies and contracts.

There are also fully staffed locations in LA and CT where they both scan in the passport forms and enter in the data. There could be some cuts made in staffing. The situation could have changed, I quit 3 years ago. However, I see on FB that some of my former coworkers who still work there are still going home early through a lot of the year. Perhaps they wised up and only pay the perm staff to go home and not the temps? We can hope.

Technically, the REAL reason is because so few Americans have them. This infrastructure is necessary and must be paid for, but if the majority of Americans had a passport the per-person share of the cost of supporting that infrastructure would go down.

It's rather like the 9/11 fee that we pay when we fly. On 9/11 most of the folks who were killed or injured were on the ground, not in planes. However, for some bizarre reason it was decided to make only passengers pay the extra costs for increased security, and thus it is $2.50 per flight segment and doesn't really generate enough funds to cover costs. If they taxed ALL Americans for that purpose they would have more than enough money if they only levied a fraction of a penny per year for it.

rigs32
03-10-2011, 02:51 PM
I always take my passport when I fly - even domestically. I've never been tapped for the additional security screening when I show my passport as my form of ID at the airport. My ex would always get tapped when he used his military ID rather than DL or passport.

Gigi22
03-10-2011, 03:37 PM
I view the cost of passports as kind of a luxury tax (a bit like a 'sin tax') on international travel. You don't require a passport if you either can't afford, or choose not to, travel to other countries.

emma'smom
03-10-2011, 04:04 PM
The simple solution--- go on more international vacations!

Lewisc
03-10-2011, 04:37 PM
Technically, the REAL reason is because so few Americans have them. This infrastructure is necessary and must be paid for, but if the majority of Americans had a passport the per-person share of the cost of supporting that infrastructure would go down.



The majority of Americans don't have, and probably don't need, passports. About 114 million Americans (37%) have passports. I don't know what percentage is "so few".

thebeesknees
03-10-2011, 04:41 PM
I am sitting here with my kids' passport applications right now. What annoys me about the ones for the kids is not that they are only for 5 years, it's that you have to apply from scratch each time, rather than being able to renew my mail. I have to drag all the kids with me (because they have to appear in person), get DH to take time off of work (or get his notorized permission, which is another hassle), and go into the office in person, wait a ridiculous amount of time to see someone to file, etc. I don't understand why my kids need to show their birth certificates AGAIN, when they already have been issued passports before. The State Department has verified their identity once...why do it again?

WDWisTheBest
03-10-2011, 04:56 PM
I am sitting here with my kids' passport applications right now. What annoys me about the ones for the kids is not that they are only for 5 years, it's that you have to apply from scratch each time, rather than being able to renew my mail. I have to drag all the kids with me (because they have to appear in person), get DH to take time off of work (or get his notorized permission, which is another hassle), and go into the office in person, wait a ridiculous amount of time to see someone to file, etc. I don't understand why my kids need to show their birth certificates AGAIN, when they already have been issued passports before. The State Department has verified their identity once...why do it again?

The only thing that matters is that you have to comply with the requirements just as everyone else does. It is not easy to do the work but..............?

debster812
03-10-2011, 05:27 PM
Our family has staggered passports. DS got his last January, I've had mine for a while, and DH will be getting his in the next month or so.

DS's soccer team plays in a league that has a member in Ottawa. We head north once to play them, so we got DS the passport for this last year. DH could not make that trip last year, so he did not get one. He will be joining us this year, so he'll get a passport.

DS and I are also going to England in August with the team, so they'll be getting a good workout this summer.

eliza61
03-10-2011, 05:33 PM
I am sitting here with my kids' passport applications right now. What annoys me about the ones for the kids is not that they are only for 5 years, it's that you have to apply from scratch each time, rather than being able to renew my mail. I have to drag all the kids with me (because they have to appear in person), get DH to take time off of work (or get his notorized permission, which is another hassle), and go into the office in person, wait a ridiculous amount of time to see someone to file, etc. I don't understand why my kids need to show their birth certificates AGAIN, when they already have been issued passports before. The State Department has verified their identity once...why do it again?

1) Identity theft.
2) child abduction
3) 5 years, kids features change.

Why do we assume every thing has to be easy and convenient. :confused3

Please forgive the rudness but really, you're mad because you have to drag YOUR kids with you? The state departments job is to make sure the correct information and the correct person is applying. Not to make sure you can do it in a manner that is easy because you have kids.
It's not Disney, the agency is not there to be entertaining.

If some one had a phoney copy of your kids birth certificate wouldn't you'd like the state department to take the time to VERIFY their identity?

eliza61
03-10-2011, 05:52 PM
Yes, but just yesterday we paid $345.00 for my kids to go on a cruise. We got ours a couple of years ago. We don't plan on leaving the country other than the cruise, but we don't want to take the chance of not having passports.

Yes I think it is a little bit of a rip off. Those people are on payroll, but they don't just do passports, they have other jobs. Much like everything in the Gov't. pretty much a waste of money. But I do agree, it is a choice, and we are paying the price, but not liking it that much.

but the price of most items are not dependant on the number of uses. If you brought a lawn mower or snow blower you couldn't go into sears and say, listen I only plan on using this one time would you lower the price? Or if you buy a dvc time share, you can't go to Disney and say "you know, could you drop the price 5 grand, I only plan on using it for 2 or 3 trips". The price is fixed and the value comes in using it more than once but that does not change the selling point.

thebeesknees
03-10-2011, 07:11 PM
1) Identity theft.
2) child abduction
3) 5 years, kids features change.

Why do we assume every thing has to be easy and convenient. :confused3

Please forgive the rudness but really, you're mad because you have to drag YOUR kids with you? The state departments job is to make sure the correct information and the correct person is applying. Not to make sure you can do it in a manner that is easy because you have kids.
It's not Disney, the agency is not there to be entertaining.

If some one had a phoney copy of your kids birth certificate wouldn't you'd like the state department to take the time to VERIFY their identity?

You're right, and you have valid points. I guess I'm just thinking that identity theft could happen to anyone, not just kids, so why don't they make everyone reapply from scratch each time instead of just the kids, but I suppose if the main reason is to prevent a non-custodial parent abduction, I can see the point. I have no problem with the 5-year limit on kids' passports. Obviously, their features change dramatically, and they need to be kept up-to-date. And yes, I was being petty by getting annoyed about having to bring the kids with me, but I wasn't really thinking it all the way through. Just venting about watching precious spring break time go down the tubes while we sit in a waiting room. :flower3:

karice2
03-10-2011, 08:26 PM
The price of a passport doesn't really bother me. I love the freedom that having one allows. When I need a quick getaway I am not limited to the the continental US. I go where I feel like going.

Every service that the government provides has a cost associated with it. Yes our taxes pay for most of those things but shouldn't people be responsible for paying for things that are a direct benefit to them. It is more than just a quick computer check for some of those things.

They also make sure people don't owe back child support or certain criminal records.

Nicolepa
03-10-2011, 08:44 PM
You're right, and you have valid points. I guess I'm just thinking that identity theft could happen to anyone, not just kids, so why don't they make everyone reapply from scratch each time instead of just the kids, but I suppose if the main reason is to prevent a non-custodial parent abduction, I can see the point. :flower3:

It is easier for idenity theft in a kid to go unnoticed. How often does a 5 year old apply for a credit card or an apartment?

I'd say try a different office if you can. When I did my kids passports I waited 15 minutes, max.

mhsjax
03-10-2011, 08:59 PM
but the price of most items are not dependant on the number of uses. If you brought a lawn mower or snow blower you couldn't go into sears and say, listen I only plan on using this one time would you lower the price? Or if you buy a dvc time share, you can't go to Disney and say "you know, could you drop the price 5 grand, I only plan on using it for 2 or 3 trips". The price is fixed and the value comes in using it more than once but that does not change the selling point.

I never said it was. For us it is a waste of money because we aren't traveling out of the country except for a cruise here and there. We did pay it, I am not arguing about getting the price reduced or refusing to get one because of the price, I am simply expressing my opinion that I do think they are expensive.

People say it is a waste of money all the time for certain things that they feel they may not use as much. They have the choice to pay the full amount or not, We did pay the full amount, and did so without any complaint, I reserved that for here when the OP brought up the subject.

thebeesknees
03-10-2011, 09:06 PM
I'd say try a different office if you can. When I did my kids passports I waited 15 minutes, max.

Thanks, I'll give that a try. The office we have gone to before doesn't do appointments, so maybe if we try one that is farther away and can get an appointment it would go quicker.

disneychrista
03-10-2011, 09:27 PM
The passport application needs both parents if the child is 16 & under.

bumbershoot
03-10-2011, 10:06 PM
Someone clearly forgot to relay that information to Airline personnel and US Immigration and border protection agents.... :rotfl2:

The point is that you *could* be asked for the documentation, even if you haven't been. The rule is the rule; they can ask for it.

If DH and DS ever traveled together alone, I'd make sure to get them a notarized document, and I would want them to carry DS's birth certificate. They just don't look alike to the eyes of a stranger, and I would rather make sure they have the proof, rather than risk it.

Thanks, I'll give that a try. The office we have gone to before doesn't do appointments, so maybe if we try one that is farther away and can get an appointment it would go quicker.

If you can go to a major post office, it might be faster than if you're going to a city office.

The passport application needs both parents if the child is 16 & under.

Or a notarized form from the parent that can't be there. Or a form explaining why the parent isn't there and you can't get permission. Or a court order showing that you have sole custody. And so on and so forth.

Tink-aholic
03-10-2011, 10:11 PM
The passport application needs both parents if the child is 16 & under.

Not for separated parents. The new application allows a parent to send in a letter to the effect that they have sole custody and don't know where the other parent is. This way, kids of deadbeats aren't punished and prevented from international travel just because their other parent can't bothered to be around.

ExPirateShopGirl, thanks for your posts. I have been debating taking my son to Europe this year, but have been worried about all of the travel hassles with requiring proof of "permission" to take him out of the country. It is good to know that once his passport is approved, we won't have a problem.

Ironically, my son's father is not eligible for a passport due to his extreme child support arrears (over $40K). :rolleyes1

gibsontrio
03-10-2011, 10:24 PM
I dropped a cool $700 for 5 passports (2 adults, 3 kids) We had to buy them because we are moving (Army) to Germany and will travel, but I just felt silly having my newborns picture taken when she already (3 months ago) looks totally different from that picture. I get the reason why they make children renew every 5 years (heck, maybe they should do it more) but the price is just about as much as an adult passport?!?!
The biggest money saver you can do with passports is NOT to get the picture taken at the post office! They charged me $15 per person, then I found out I could've saved money getting them anywhere else!

mdsoccermom
03-11-2011, 07:05 AM
I agree with this.

The Passport is THE BEST form of ID that there is. It contains all the info of the birth certificate plus your photo. It is the gold standard of identification. Most times where you need multiple IDs, if you have the passport, you don't need any other forms.

I remember when I was 16 and getting my drivers license. My friends were having trouble scrounging up all the various types of ids necessary to get a drivers license (one from column a and one from column b, etc). I had a passport, and that was the ONLY form of ID I needed to show at the DMV to get my license. It was SO much easier.

AMEN! IMO, everyone should have a passport. It is the single best form of identification.

Since my kids have gotten their passports, they've been to Europe and on 3 cruises. You have a passport, the world is open to you.

For those who complain about the government charging so much for something you choose to use, that's just it. You have a choice. Don't like it, don't get it. There are many of us that are more than willing to pay for it. If I needed to get one for the first time, I'd consider it part of the vacation expense and budget appropriately.

lisaross
03-11-2011, 08:23 AM
PASSPORT PHOTOS at COSTCO are 5 bucks!

I dropped a cool $700 for 5 passports (2 adults, 3 kids) We had to buy them because we are moving (Army) to Germany and will travel, but I just felt silly having my newborns picture taken when she already (3 months ago) looks totally different from that picture. I get the reason why they make children renew every 5 years (heck, maybe they should do it more) but the price is just about as much as an adult passport?!?!
The biggest money saver you can do with passports is NOT to get the picture taken at the post office! They charged me $15 per person, then I found out I could've saved money getting them anywhere else!

Kath2003
03-11-2011, 12:41 PM
Mine was $120 (British). So far this year alone, I've got 3 trips planned where I'll have to use it - cost per trip already down to $40. Even if you take 1 trip each year, it's $12/trip (if I continue at this rate, the cost will be just $4/trip). Well worth it for the opporunity to visit other countries, learn about other cultures and enjoy travelling IMO.

The US is lucky; you have a HUGE volume of space to "play" in without a passport. You've got snow-topped mountains, amazing geological formations, hot beaches, entire cities devoted to theme parks or casinos, desert, lakes and two entire oceans. There's not much space to "play" over here..: that's why almost all Brits own a passport :upsidedow

robin09
03-11-2011, 01:04 PM
Mine was $120 (British). So far this year alone, I've got 3 trips planned where I'll have to use it - cost per trip already down to $40. Even if you take 1 trip each year, it's $12/trip (if I continue at this rate, the cost will be just $4/trip). Well worth it for the opporunity to visit other countries, learn about other cultures and enjoy travelling IMO.

The US is lucky; you have a HUGE volume of space to "play" in without a passport. You've got snow-topped mountains, amazing geological formations, hot beaches, entire cities devoted to theme parks or casinos, desert, lakes and two entire oceans. There's not much space to "play" over here..: that's why almost all Brits own a passport :upsidedow

What I don't understand, is breaking it down into how many uses you get. The reason, I believe is the INITIAL outlay of money... for us, a family of three ZI believe is close to $500... that's a big outlay on top of the cost of the cruise. If you start breaking things down.. you could say that million dollar houses are cheap because if you break in down into how many days you use it.. if you use it for 30 years.. it's only $91 a day.. cheaper than disney... I don't know.. maybe I'm cranky today, but this breakdown is getting to me!

Kath2003
03-11-2011, 01:16 PM
What I don't understand, is breaking it down into how many uses you get. The reason, I believe is the INITIAL outlay of money... for us, a family of three ZI believe is close to $500... that's a big outlay on top of the cost of the cruise. If you start breaking things down.. you could say that million dollar houses are cheap because if you break in down into how many days you use it.. if you use it for 30 years.. it's only $91 a day.. cheaper than disney... I don't know.. maybe I'm cranky today, but this breakdown is getting to me!

Even if you don't do that, it's $120 for the ability to go wherever you want, whenever you want :confused3 To me, that's worth a lot! Yes - I can see it's an initial investment, but $12/year isn't unreasonable by any standards.

Also, as I said, you're fortunate in that you're a citizen whereby you don't need to even leave the country you live in to experience a vast, vast range of different landscapes, places and people. I would LOVE to visit lots of different parts of the US, but I have neither the time nor the money :(

declansdad
03-11-2011, 01:47 PM
Depends upon how you do the math. You've done it one way, here's the other: You pay $135 for a passport, and you use it twice in the ten years. That's $67.50 per use, which isn't much of a value IF a free option exists. Both are valid ways of looking at the cost.



It doesn't matter how many times you use it, it still comes down to $13.50 per year. Pretty cheap for the best form of idea you can have.

Vijoge
03-11-2011, 01:50 PM
Just venting about watching precious spring break time go down the tubes while we sit in a waiting room. :flower3:

You won't be there that long...

bumbershoot
03-11-2011, 03:31 PM
Not for separated parents. The new application allows a parent to send in a letter to the effect that they have sole custody and don't know where the other parent is. This way, kids of deadbeats aren't punished and prevented from international travel just because their other parent can't bothered to be around.

ExPirateShopGirl, thanks for your posts. I have been debating taking my son to Europe this year, but have been worried about all of the travel hassles with requiring proof of "permission" to take him out of the country. It is good to know that once his passport is approved, we won't have a problem.

Ironically, my son's father is not eligible for a passport due to his extreme child support arrears (over $40K). :rolleyes1

I would bring that letter, though.

My friend, whose ex-husband has never even met their daughter, brings her documentation with her when they go out of the country. It's for the "just in case" moments.

What if, 3 days before you guys leave, there's a widely publicized case of a mom taking her children off to her home country while going through a nasty divorce? Sure they were happy when they got the passports, but the courts might have ordered her to stay put...and she decides to leave instead. And because so few people at the airport check for those notarized "permission" slips, she manages to get her kids out before anyone is aware.

Then 3 days later you get to the airport without any father there and with no stated information of why it's just the two of you...

Sure, the likelihood is low (though there was a case just like it a few years ago shortly before we were traveling (domestically)), but just to have it with you...might not be needed, but IF it is needed you'd be glad you have it.

DisneyFairytale
03-11-2011, 03:40 PM
We have to renew ours every 5 years here. I think it's a pain, but the cost is not that bad I dont think. They charge $67 every time you renew it, but you do have to add the cost of redoing pictures as well which is probably another $20.00 or so. For the amount of times we have used ours, I think it's been well worth it, and when you look at dividing the cost every year, its not to bad.

disneyfreakk
03-11-2011, 03:47 PM
I dropped a cool $700 for 5 passports (2 adults, 3 kids) We had to buy them because we are moving (Army) to Germany and will travel, but I just felt silly having my newborns picture taken when she already (3 months ago) looks totally different from that picture. I get the reason why they make children renew every 5 years (heck, maybe they should do it more) but the price is just about as much as an adult passport?!?!
The biggest money saver you can do with passports is NOT to get the picture taken at the post office! They charged me $15 per person, then I found out I could've saved money getting them anywhere else!

You can get a FREE passport photo with AAA premiere membership. I am assuming that both DH and I get a free photo since we are both members.

MrsPete
03-13-2011, 08:35 PM
In my experience, cruise lines are very proactive in making sure you have any documentation that MIGHT be needed to reenter the country. Even more so than the airlines for som reasons. Well, think about it: It's in their best interests to MAKE SURE you're going to be able to get back into the US.

If at the end of your cruise, you can't pass through US Customs, where are you stuck? In the cruise line's terminal. They can't put you back on the ship. They can't let you stay there in the terminal. You're their responsibility because you're in their building.

On the other hand, if you can't get through Customs at the airport, you're in the airport's terminal, which does not belong to the airline. You're on your own. You're not their responsibility.I always take my passport when I fly - even domestically. I've never been tapped for the additional security screening when I show my passport as my form of ID at the airport. My ex would always get tapped when he used his military ID rather than DL or passport.To tell an opposite story: My husband was detained for several hours and was taken into the "small room" to be checked recently on a trip to Canada. He says they went through every item in his suitcase, felt the cuffs and seams in his pants, etc. And he was traveling with his passport. When they found nothing, they turned him lose without so much as a word of apology -- he said he wanted to complain, but he knew it was in his own best interest to get out of their as fast as he could. Anyway, the point: A frequent business traveler, he was traveling with his passport. but the price of most items are not dependant on the number of uses. If you brought a lawn mower or snow blower you couldn't go into sears and say, listen I only plan on using this one time would you lower the price? Or if you buy a dvc time share, you can't go to Disney and say "you know, could you drop the price 5 grand, I only plan on using it for 2 or 3 trips". The price is fixed and the value comes in using it more than once but that does not change the selling point.Yeah, those things are not priced "by number of uses", but it makes sense before purchasing them to think about how often you're going to use them.

If you're only going to need to mow a lawn only once or twice in the next 10 years, it makes perfect sense to forego buying the mower and just hire someone to mow for you. Similary, if you're only going to take a cruise once or twice in the next 10 years, it makes perfect sense to use the free option.

On the other hand, if you're going to mow your own lawn every week, buying the mower is a good value. Just as if you're going to take other international trips, buying the passport is a good value. The US is lucky; you have a HUGE volume of space to "play" in without a passport. You've got snow-topped mountains, amazing geological formations, hot beaches, entire cities devoted to theme parks or casinos, desert, lakes and two entire oceans. There's not much space to "play" over here..: that's why almost all Brits own a passport :upsidedowWhich makes perfect sense to me. Also, it doesn't cost you much to travel across an international border. For me, it's quite a distance and expensive. It doesn't matter how many times you use it, it still comes down to $13.50 per year. Pretty cheap for the best form of idea you can have.It matters to me. The number of uses determines whether it's a good value for the money. $13.50 per year IF it just sits in the safe is pretty expensive.

On the other hand, if you USE IT REGULARLY, it's a great deal.