The Home Office has outlined plans to introduce different passport fees for online and postal applications as part of its push to increase the use of online services and its ambition to create a self-sustainable immigration and borders system.
The move will see the cost of a passport application increase by around £12.
However, those applying online will see rises of just £3.
The proposals, which remain subject to parliamentary approval, would mean the money collected through fees will contribute to the cost of processing British passport holders as they travel in and out of the country, shifting the burden for paying for these services away from the taxpayer – millions of whom do not currently hold passports.
These reforms are part of plans by the Home Office to invest £100 million on border security and infrastructure next year.
This forms part of the ongoing work to modernise and further strengthen the security of the border.
Under the plans, online applications, which are available to all UK-based applicants, will increase in line with inflation, taking the total from £72.50 to £75.50 for adults and £49 for children.
Postal applications will increase by £12.50 to £85 for adults and £58.50 for children, reflecting the increased costs of processing postal applications compared to online applications.
Adults choosing to apply online would still be paying less than they would have in 2009, with passport fees having decreased in 2012.
Immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, said: “The passport is an invaluable document that allows millions of British people to travel around the world for business and pleasure.
“Our priority is to ensure that UK travellers have a secure, effective, and efficient service from the point of application to the time they pass through the UK border and it is only right that we should look at this whole process when setting our fees.
“These proposals will ensure that those people who don’t travel abroad are not footing the bill for those who do.
“The changes are fully supported by the fee-setting powers that were brought in by the Immigration Act 2016 and if they are approved by Parliament, they will come into force on March 27th, 2018.”
The proposals are unrelated to the announcement that the colour of the UK passport will be changing in 2019, which will be delivered at no additional cost.
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